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Full text of "Chimneysmoke"

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By Christopher Alorley 

CHIMNEYSMOKE 

HIDE AND SEEK 

THE ROCKING HORSE 

SONGS FOR A LITTLE HOUSE 

MINCE PIE 

New York: George H. Doran Company 




Thin hearth icas built for thy delight, 
For thee the logs were sawn, 
For thee the largest chair, at night, 
Is to the chimneij drawn. 



For thee, dear lass, the match was lit, 
To yield the ruddy blaze — 
May Jack Frost give us joy of it 
For many, many days. 



ryiimneysmoRe 



if 



QfirisiopRery(bii&f 




Illustrated By 
^piomas^ojarty 



QeorgeT{^oran (gmpany 



Copyriffht, igij, IQIQ, 1920 and 1921, 
By George H. Doran Company 



Printed in the United States of America 



"How can I turn from any fire 
On any mans hearthstonef 
I know the wonder and desire 
That luent to build my own." 

— RuDYARD Kipling, "The Fires' 



^utKors^te 



There are a number of poems in this collection 
that have not previously appeared in book form. 
But, as a few readers may discern, many of the 
verses are reprinted from Songs for a Little House 
(1917), The Rocking Horse (1919) and Hide 
and Seek ( 1920). There is also one piece revived 
from the judicious obscurity of an early escapade. 
The Eighth Sin, published in Oxford in 1912, 
It is on Mr. Thomas Fogarty's delightful and 
sympathetic drawings that this book rests its 
real claim to be considered a new venture. To 
Mr. Fogarty, and to Mr. George H. Doran, whose 
constant kindness and generosity contradict all 
the traditions about publishers and minor poets, 
the author expresses his permanent gratitude. 

Roslyn, Long Island. 




-it:f'^sri, 







Qntents 



TO THE LITTLE HOUSE 

A GRACE BEFORE WRITING 

DEDICATION FOR A FIREPLACE 

TAKING TITLE 

THE SECRET 

ONLY A MATTER OF TIME 

AT THE MERMAID CAFETERIA 

OUR HOUSE 

ON NAMING A HOUSE 

A Hallowe'en memory 

REFUSING YOU IMMORTALITY 
BAYBERRY CANDLES 
SECRET LAUGHTER 
SIX WEEKS OLD 

[ix] 



19 

20 
21 

22 

25 
26 

28 
29 

31 

32 

35 
36 
37 
38 



CONTENTS 



A CHARM 


41 


MY PIPE 


42 


THE 5:42 


44 


PETER PAN 


48 


IN HONOR OF TAFFY TOPAZ 


49 


THE CEDAR CHEST 


50 


READING ALOUD 


51 


ANIMAL CRACKERS 


52 


THE MILKMAN 


55 


LIGHT VERSE 


56 


THE FURNACE 


57 


WASHING THE DISHES 


58 


THE CHURCH OF UNBENT KNEES 


61 


ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY COAL-BIN 


62 


THE OLD SWIMMER 


66 


THE MOON-SHEEP 


70 


SMELLS 


71 


SMELLS (junior) 


72 


MAR gUONG, CHINESE LAUNDRYMAN 


75 


THE FAT LITTLE PURSE 


76 


THE REFLECTION 


80 


THE BALLOON PEDDLER 


82 


LINES FOR AN ECCENTRIc's BOOK PLATE 


86 


TO A POST-OFFICE INKWELL 


89 


THE CRIB 


90 


THE POET 


94 


TO A DISCARDED MIRROR 


97 


[x] 





CONTENTS 

PAGE 

TO A CHILD 98 

TO A VERY YOUNG GENTLEMAN lOO 

TO AN OLD-FASHIONED POET IO4 

BURNING LEAVES IN SPRING IO5 

BURNING LEAVES, NOVEMBER I06 

A VALENTINE GAME IO7 

FOR A BIRTHDAY I08 

KEATS 1 1 1 

TO H. F. M., A SONNET IN SUNLIGHT II3 

QUICKENING II4 

AT A WINDOW SILL II5 

THE RIVER OF LIGHT 1 16 

OF HER GLORIOUS MADNESS 1 18 

IN AN AUCTION ROOM IIQ 
EPITAPH FOR A POET WHO WROTE NO POETRY 120 

SONNET BY A GEOMETER 121 

TO A VAUDEVILLE TERRIER 122 

TO AN OLD FRIEND 12 ^ 

TO A BURLESQUE SOUBRETTE 126 

THOUGHTS WHILE PACKING A TRUNK 1 29 

STREETS 130 

TO THE ONLY BEGETTER I3I 

PEDOMETER 133 

HOSTAGES 134 

ARS DURA 137 

O. HENRY APOTHECARY I38 

FOR THE CENTENARY OF KEATs's SONNET 1 39 

[xi] 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

TWO o'clock i^.o 

THE COMMERCIAL TRAVELLER I4.I 

THE WEDDED LOVER lzL2 

TO YOU, REMEMBERING THE PAST I43 

CHARLES AND MARY 1 /] | 

TO A GRANDMOTHER I45 

DIARISTS 146 

THE LAST SONNET I47 

THE SAVAGE I48 

ST. Paul's and woolworth 149 

ADVICE TO A CITY 1 ^O 

THE TELEPHONE DIRECTORY I5I 

GREEN ESCAPE I53 

VESPER SONG FOR COMMUTERS 1^7 

THE ICE WAGON 1 58 

AT A MOVIE THEATRE 161 

SONNETS IN A LODGING HOUSE 163 

THE MAN WITH THE HOE (PRESs) 167 

DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE GOD^ 168 

RAPID TRANSIT 1 7O 

CAUGHT IN THE UNDERTOW I7I 

TO HIS BROWN-EYED MISTRESS 172 

PEACE 173 
SONG, IN DEPRECATION OF PULCHRITUDE I75 

MOUNTED POLICE I76 
TO HIS MISTRESS, DEPLORING THAT HE IS 

NOT AN ELIZABETHAN GALAXY 179 

[xii] 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE INTRUDER l8l 

TIT FOR TAT 182 

SONG FOR A LITTLE HOUSE 185 

THE PLUMPUPPETS 186 

DANDY DANDELION IQO 

THE HIGH CHAIR I92 

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT 193 

AUTUMN COLORS 197 

THE LAST CRICKET I98 

TO LOUISE 199 

CHRISTMAS EVE 203 
EPITAPH ON THE PROOFREADER OF THE 

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA 204 

THE MUSIC BOX 205 

TO LUATH 209 

THOUGHTS ON REACHING LAND 212 

A SYMPOSIUM 214 
TO A TELEPHONE OPERATOR WHO HAS A 

BAD COLD 218 
NURSERY RHYMES FOR THE TENDER-HEARTED 2I9 

THE TWINS 227 

A printer's MADRIGAL 228 

THE POET ON THE HEARTH 23O 

O PRAISE ME NOT THE COUNTRY 23 1 

A STONE IN ST. PAUl's GRAVEYARD 235 

THE MADONNA OF THE CURB 236 

THE ISLAND 24O 

[xiii] 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

SUNDAY NIGHT 242 

ENGLAND, JULY, I913 246 

CASUALTY 250 

A GRUB STREET RECESSIONAL 25I 
PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS FOR A FUNERAL 

SERVICE 253 



[xiv] 



Illustrations 




This hearth ivas built for tJiy delight — 

And by a friend's bright gift of ivine, 
I dedicate this house of mine 

And of all man's felicities — 

A little ivorld he feels and sees: 

His mother's arms, his mother's knees — 

The 5:42 

And Daddy once said he tvould like to be me 
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea! 

But heavy feeding complicates 
The task by soiling many plates 

Hoiv ill avail, on such a frosty night 

The old s^vimmer 

But Katie, the cook, is more splendid than all — 

Perhaps it's a ragged child crying 

The Balloon Peddler 

If you appreciate it more 
Than I — vuhy don't return it! 

And then one night — 



Frontispiece 

PAGE 

23 
33 



;xv] 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



The human cadence and the subtle chime 

Of little laughters — 95 

What years of youthful ills and pangs and bumps — 101 

A Birthday 109 

You must be rigid ser-vant of your art! 123 

You came, and impudent and deuce-may-care 

Danced ivhere the gutter flamed ivith footlight fire 127 

Hostages 135 

My eyes still pine for the comely line 

Of an outbound vessel's hull 155 

A man ain't so secretive, never cares 

What kind of private papers he leaves lay — 165 

Mounted Police 177 

Courtesy 183 

The Pltimpuppets 187 

. . . Ifs hard to have to tell 

H01V unresponsive I have found her 195 

. . . When you see, this Great First Time, 

Lit candles on a Christmas Tree! 201 

The music box 207 

Solugubrious 215 

In the midnight, like yourself, 

I explore the pantry shelf! 221 

The Twins 227 

O praise me not the country 233 

The ivail of sickly children — 237 

Ah, does the butcher — heartless cloivn — 

Beget that shadow on her brow? 243 



[xvi] 



r^RimneVsmolie 




'^\}r. 






r^RimneVsmoKe 

TO THE LITTLE HOUSE 

DEAR little house, dear shabby street, 
Dear books and beds and food to eat I 
How feeble words are to express 
The facets of your tenderness. 

How white the sun comes through the pane I 
In tinkling music drips the rain I 
How burning bright the furnace glows I 
What paths to shovel when it snows! 

O dearly loved Long Island trains! 
O well remembered joys and pains. . . . 
How near the housetops Beauty leans 
Along that little street in Queens ! 

Let these poor rhymes abide for proof 
Joy dwells beneath a humble roof; 
Heaven is not built of country seats 
But little queer suburban streets! 

March, 1917. 

[19] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



A GRACE BEFORE WRITING 

THIS is a sacrament, I think! 
Holding the bottle toward the light, 
As blue as lupin gleams the ink; 
May Truth be with me as I write I 

That small dark cistern may afford 
Reunion with some vanished friend, — 

And with this ink I have just poured 
May none but honest words be penned I 



[20] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



DEDICATION FOR A FIREPLACE 

THIS hearth was built for thy delight, 
For thee the logs were sawn, 
For thee the largest chair, at night. 
Is to the chimney drawn. 

For thee, dear lass, the match was lit 

To yield the ruddy blaze — 
May Jack Frost give us joy of it 

For many, many days. 



[21] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TAKING TITLE 

TO make this house my very own 
Could not be done by law alone. 
Though covenant and deed convey 
Absolute fee, as lawyers say, 
There are domestic rites beside 
By which this house is sanctified. 

By kindled fire upon the hearth. 
By planted pansies in the garth. 
By food, and by the quiet rest 
Of those brown eyes that I love best, 
And by a friend's bright gift of wine, 
I dedicate this house of mine. 

When all but I are soft abed 
I trail about my quiet stead 
A wreath of blue tobacco smoke 
(A charm that evil never broke) 
And bring my ritual to an end 
By giving shelter to a friend. 

These done, O dwelling, you become 
Not just a house, but truly Home I 
[22] 




Andhy a friencVs bright gift of wine, 
I dedicate this house of mine. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE SECRET 

IT was the House of Quietness 
To which I came at dusk; 
The garth was lit with roses 
And heavy with their musk. 

The tremulous tall poplar trees 
Stood whispering around, 

The gentle flicker of their plumes 
More quiet than no sound. 

And as I wondered at the door 
What magic might be there, 

The Lady of Sweet Silences 
Came softly down the stair. 



[25] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



ONLY A MATTER OF TIME 

DOWN-SLIPPING Time, sweet, swift, and 
shallow stream, 
Here, like a boulder, lies this afternoon 
Across )'our eager flow. So you shall stay, 
Deepened and dammed, to let me breathe and be. 
Your troubled fluency, your running gleam 
Shall pause, and circle idly, still and clear: 
The while I lie and search your glassy pool 
Where, gently coiling in their lazy round, 
Unseparable minutes drift and swim, 
Eddy and rise and brim. And I will see 
How many crystal bubbles of slack Time 
The mind can hold and cherish in one Now! 

Now, for one conscious vacancy of sense. 
The stream is gathered in a deepening pond, 
Not a mere moving mirror. Through the sharp 
Correct reflection of the standing scene 
The mind can dip, and cleanse itself with rest, 
And see, slow spinning in the lucid gold. 
Your liquid motes, imperishable Time. 



[26] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

It cannot be. The runnel slips away: 
The clear smooth downward sluice begins again, 
More brightly slanting for that trembling pause, 
Leaving the sense its conscious vague unease 
As when a sonnet flashes on the mind, 
Trembles and burns an instant, and is gone. 



[27] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



AT THE MERMAID CAFETERIA 

TRUTH is enough for prose: 
Calmly it goes 
To tell just what it knows. 

For verse, skill will suffice — 
Delicate, nice 
Casting of verbal dice. 

Poetry, men attain 

By subtler pain 

More flagrant in the brain — 

An honesty unfeigned, 

A heart unchained, 

A madness well restrained. 



[28] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



OUR HOUSE 

IT should be yours, if I could build 
The quaint old dwelling I desire, 
With books and pictures bravely filled 
And chairs beside an open fire. 
White-panelled rooms with candles lit — 
I lie awake to think of it I 

A dial for the sunny hours, 

A garden of old-fashioned flowers — 

Say marigolds and lavender 

And mignonette and fever-few, 

And Judas-tree and maidenhair 

And candytuft and thyme and rue — 

All these for you to wander in. 

A Chinese carp (called Mandarin) 
Waving a sluggish silver fin 
Deep in the moat : so tame he comes 
To lip your fingers offering crumbs. 
Tall chimneys, like long listening ears, 
White shutters, ivy green and thick. 
And walls of ruddy Tudor brick 
Grown mellow with the passing years. 

[29] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

And windows with small leaded panes, 
Broad window-seats for when it rains; 
A big blue bowl of pot pourri 
And — ^yes, a Spanish chestnut tree 
To coin the autumn's minted gold. 
A summer house for drinking tea- 
All these (just think!) for you and me. 

A staircase of the old black wood 
Cut in the days of Robin Hood, 
And banisters worn smooth as glass 
Down which your hand will lightly pass; 
A piano with pale yellow keys 
For wistful twilight melodies. 
And dusty bottles in a bin — - 
All these for you to revel in! 

But when? Ah well, until that time 
We'll habit in this house of rhyme. 
1912 



[30] 



CHIMNEYS MOKE 



ON NAMING A HOUSE 



w 



HEN I a householder became 
I had to give my house a name. 



I thought I'd call it "Poplar Trees," 
Or "Widdershins" or "Velvet Bees," 

Or "Just Beneath a Star." 
I thought of "House Where Plumbings 

Freeze," 
Or "As You Like it," "If You Please," 
Or "Nicotine" or "Bread and Cheese," 

"Full Moon" or "Doors Ajar." 

But still I sought some subtle charm, 
Some rune to guard my roof from harm 

And keep the devil far; 
I thought of this, and I was saved! 
I had my letter-heads engraved 

The House Where Brown Eyes Are. 



[31] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



A HALLOWE'EN MEMORY 

DO you remember, Heart's Desire, 
The night when Hallowe'en first came"? 
The newly dedicated fire, 

The hearth unsanctiiied by flame *? 

How anxiously we swept the bricks 

(How tragic, were the draught not right!) 

And then the blaze enwrapped the sticks 
And filled the room with dancing light. 

We could not speak, but only gaze. 
Nor half believe what we had seen — 

Our home, our hearth, our golden blaze, 
Our cider mugs, our Hallowe'en! 

And then a thought occurred to me — 
We ran outside with sudden shout 

And looked up at the roof, to see 

Our own dear smoke come drifting out. 

And of all man's felicities 

The very subtlest one, say I, 
Is when, for the first time, he sees 

His hearthfire smoke against the sky. 

[32] 



."\ 










And of all viands felicities 

The very subtlest one, say I, 

Is when, for the first time, he sees 

His hearthfire smoke against the slay. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



REFUSING YOU LMMORTALITY 

IF I should tell, unstinted, 
Your beauty and your grace, 
All future lads would whisper 

Traditions of your face; 
If I made public tumult 

Your mirth, your queenly state. 
Posterity would grumble 
That it was born too late. 

I will not frame your beauty 

In bright undying phrase. 
Nor blaze it as a legend 

For unborn men to praise — 
For why should future lovers 

Be saddened and depressed? 
Deluded, let them fancy 



Their own girls loveliest! 



[35] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



BAYBERRY CANDLES 

DEAR sweet, when dusk comes up the hill, 
The fire leaps high with golden prongs: 
I place along the chimneysill 
The tiny candles of my songs. 

And though unsteadily they burn, 
As evening shades from gray to blue 

Like candles they will surely learn 
To shine more clear, for love of you. 



[36] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



SECRET LAUGHTER 

"I had a secret laughter." 

— Walter de la Mare. 

THERE is a secret laughter 
That often comes to me, 
And though I go about my work 
As humble as can be, 
There is no prince or prelate 

I envy — no, not one. 
No evil can befall me — 
By God, I have a son I 



[37] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



SIX WEEKS OLD 

HE is so small, he does not know 
The summer sun, the winter snow ; 
The spring that ebbs and comes again. 
All this is far beyond his ken. 

A little world he feels and sees: 
His mother's arms, his mother's knees; 
He hides his face against her breast. 
And does not care to learn the rest. 



[38] 








^ /i7f7£? ?£'orW he feels and sees: 

His mother s arms, his mother's knees- 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



A CHARM 

For Our New Fireplace, 
To Stop Its Smoking 

OWOOD, burn bright; O flame, be quick; 
O smoke, draw cleanly up the flue — 
My lady chose your every brick 
And sets her dearest hopes on you I 

Logs cannot burn, nor tea be sweet, 
Nor white bread turn to crispy toast, 
Until the charm be made complete 
By love, to lay the sooty ghost. 

And then, dear books, dear waiting chairs. 

Dear china and mahogany. 

Draw close, for on the happy stairs 

My brown-eyed girl comes down tor teal 



[41] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

MY PIPE 

MY PIPE is old 
And caked with soot 
My wife remarks: 
"How can you put 
That horrid relic, 
So unclean, 
Inside your mouth *? 
The nicotine 
Is strong enough 
To stupefy 

A Swedish plumber." 
I reply: 

"This is the kind 
Of pipe I like : 
I fill it full 
Of Happy Strike, 
Or Barking Cat 
Or Cabman's Puff, 
Or Brooklyn Bridge 
(That potent stuff) 
Or Chaste Embraces, 
Knacker's Twist, 
Old Honeycomb 
Or Niggerfist. 

[42] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

I clamp my teeth 
Upon its stem- 
It is my bliss, 
My diadem. 
Whatever Fate 
May do to me, 
This is my favorite 

B 
B B. 

For this dear pipe 
You feign to scorn 
I smoked the night 
The boy was born." 



[431 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE 5:42 

LILAC, violet, and rose 
Ardently the city glows; 
Sunset glory, purely sweet, 
Gilds the dreaming byway-street, 
And, above the Avenue, 
Winter dusk is deepening blue. 

(Then, across Long Island meadows. 
Darker, darker, grow the shadows: 
Patience, little waiting lass! 
Laggard minutes slowly pass; 
Patience, laughs the yellow fire: 
Homeward bound is heart's desire I) 

Hark, adown the canyon street 
Flows the merry tide of feet; 
High the golden buildings loom 
Blazing in the purple gloom; 
All the town is set with stars. 
Homeward chant the Broadway cars! 

[44] 




The 5:4^ 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

All down Thirty-second Street 
Homeward, Homeward, say the feet I 
Tramping men, uncouth to view, 
Footsore, weary, thrill anew; 
Gone the ringing telephones. 
Blessed nightfall now atones. 
Casting brightness on the snow 
Golden the train windows go. 

Then (how long it seems) at last 

All the way is overpast. 

Heart that beats your muffled drum, 

Lo, your venturer is come I 

Wide the door I Leap high, O fire! 

Home at length is heart's desire I 

Gone is weariness and fret. 

At the sill warm lips are met. 

Once again may be renewed 

The conjoined beatitude. 



[47] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

PETER PAN 

The boy for whom Barrie wrote Peter Pan — 
las died in battle." 
— New York Times. 



the original of Peter Pan — has died in battle 



A 



ND Peter Pan is dead'? Not so! 

When mothers turn the lights down 
low 
And tuck their little sons in bed, 
They know that Peter is not dead. ... 

That little rounded blanket-hill; 

Those prayer-time eyes, so deep and still — 

However wise and great a man 

He grows, he still is Peter Pan. 

And mothers' ways are often queer: 
They pause in doorways, just to hear 
A tiny breathing; think a prayer; 
And then go tiptoe down the stair. 



[48] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



IN HONOR OF TAFFY TOPAZ 

TAFFY, the topaz-colored cat, 
Thinks now of this and now of that, 
But chiefly of his meals. 
Asparagus, and cream, and fish. 
Are objects of his Freudian wish; 
What you don't give, he steals. 

His gallant heart is strongly stirred 
By clink of plate or flight of bird. 
He has a plumy tail; 
At night he treads on stealthy pad 
As merry as Sir Galahad 
A-seeking of the Grail. 

His amiable amber eyes 
Are very friendly, very wise; 
Like Buddha, grave and fat. 
He sits, regardless of applause. 
And thinking, as he kneads his paws, 
What fun to be a cat ! 



[49] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE CEDAR CHEST 

HER mind is like her cedar chest 
Wherein in quietness do rest 
The wistful dreamings of her heart 
In fragrant folds all laid apart. 

There, put away in sprigs of rhyme 
Until her life's full blossom-time, 
Flutter (like tremulous little birds) 
Her small and sweet maternal words. 



[50] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



READING ALOUD 

ONCE we read Tennyson aloud 
In our great fireside chair; 
Between the lines, my lips could touch 
Her April-scented hair. 

How very fond I was, to think 

The printed poems fair, 
When close within my arms I held 

A living lyric there! 



[51] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



ANIMAL CRACKERS 

ANIMAL crackers, and cocoa to drink, 
That is the finest of suppers, I think; 
When I'm grown up and can have what I please 
I think I shall always insist upon these. 

What do you choose when you're offered a treat? 
When Mother says, "What would you like best 

to eat?" 
Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast? 
It's cocoa and animals that I love most I 

The kitchen's the cosiest place that I know: 
The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow, 
And there in the twilight, how jolly to see 
The cocoa and animals waiting for me. 

Daddy and Mother dine later in state, 
With Mar}^ to cook for them, Susan to wait; 
But they don't have nearly as much fun as I 
Who eat in the kitchen with Nurse standing by; 
And Daddy once said, he would like to be me 
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea I 



[52] 








And Daddy once said he would like to he me 
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea! 



E 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE MILKMAN 

ARLY in the morning, when the dawn is on 
the roofs, 
You hear his wheels come rolling, you hear his 

horse's hoofs; 
You hear the bottles clinking, and then he drives 

away: 
You yawn in bed, turn over, and begin another 

day! 

The old-time dairy maids are dear to every poet's 

heart — 
I'd rather be the dairy man and drive a little cart. 
And bustle round the village in the early morning 

blue. 
And hang my reins upon a hook, as I've seen 

Casey do. 



[55] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



LIGHT VERSE 



AT night the gas lamps light our street, 
Electric bulbs our homes; 
The gas is billed in cubic feet, 
Electric light in ohms. 



'to* 



But one illumination still 
Is brighter far, and sweeter; 

It is not figured in a bill, 
Nor measured by a meter. 

More bright than lights that money buys, 

More pleasing to discerners, 
The shining lamps of Helen's eyes. 

Those lovely double burners I 



[56] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE FURNACE 

AT night I opened 
The furnace door: 
The wann glow brightened 
The cellar floor. 

The fire that sparkled 

Blue and red, 
Kept small toes cosy 

In their bed. 

As up the stair 

So late I stole, 
I said my prayer: 

Thank God for coal! 



l%^^ 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



WASHING THE DISHES 

WHEN we on simple rations sup 
How easy is the washing up ! 
But heavy feeding complicates 
The task by soiling many plates. 

And though I grant that I have prayed 
That we might find a serving-maid, 
I'd scullion all my days, I think. 
To see Her smile across the sink! 

I wash, She wipes. In water hot 
I souse each dish and pan and pot; 
While Taffy mutters, purrs, and begs, 
And rubs himself against my legs. 

The man who never in his life 
Has washed the dishes with his wife 
Or polished up the silver plate — 
He still is largely celibate. 

One warning: there is certain ware 
That must be handled with all care: 
The Lord Himself will give you up 
If you should drop a willow cup! 

[58] 








Bwi /if-flt'T/ feeding complicates 

The task by soiling many plates. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE CHURCH OF UNBENT KNEES 



A 



S I went by the church to-day 



I heard the organ cry 



And goodly folk were on their knees, 
But I went striding by. 



'to 



My minster hath a roof more vast : 
My aisles are oak trees high; 

My altar-cloth is on the hills, 
My organ is the sky. 

I see my rood upon the clouds, 
The winds, my chanted choir; 

My crystal windows, heaven-glazed, 
Are stained with sunset fire. 

The stars, the thunder, and the rain. 
White sands and purple seas — 

These are His pulpit and His pew, 
My God of Unbent Knees I 



[61] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY 
COAL-BIN 

THE furnace tolls the knell of falling 
steam, 
The coal supply is virtually done, 
And at this price, indeed it does not seem 
As though we could afford another ton. 



Now fades the glossy, cherished anthracite; 

The radiators lose their temperature: 
How ill avail, on such a frosty night. 

The "short and simple flannels of the poor." 



Though in the icebox, fresh and newly laid, 
The rude forefathers of the omelet sleep. 

No eggs for breakfast till the bill is paid : 
We cannot cook again till coal is cheap. 



Can Morris-chair or papier-mache bust 
Revivify the failing pressure-gauge? 

Chop up the grand piano if you must, 
And burn the East Aurora parrot-cage! 

[62] 







How ill avail, on such a frosty night. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



Full many a can of purest kerosene 

The dark unfathomed tanks of Standard Oil 

Shall furnish me, and with their aid I mean 
To bring my morning coffee to a boil. 



[6?] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE OLD SWIMMER 

I OFTEN wander on the beach 
Where once, so brown of limb, 
The biting air, the roaring surf 
Summoned me to swim. 

I see my old abundant youth 
Where combers lean and spill. 
And though I taste the foam no more 
Other swimmers will. 

Oh, good exultant strength to meet 
The arching wall of green, 
To break the crystal, swirl, emerge 
Dripping, taut, and clean. 

To climb the moving hilly blue, 
To dive in ecstasy 
And feel the salty chill embrace 
Arm and rib and knee. 



What brave and vanished laughter then 
An 
[66] 



And tingling thighs to run, 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

What warm and comfortable sands 
Dreaming in the sun. 

The crumbling water spreads in snow, 
The surf is hissing still, 
And though I kiss the salt no more 
Other swimmers will. 



[69] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE MOON-SHEEP 

THE moon seems like a docile sheep, 
She pastures while all people sleep: 
But sometimes, when she goes astray, 
She wanders all alone by day. 

Up in the clear blue morning air 
We are surprised to see her there, 
Grazing in her woolly white. 
Waiting the return of night. 

When dusk lets down the meadow bars 
She greets again her lambs, the stars! 



[70] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



SMELLS 

WHY is it that the poets tell 
So little of the sense of smell'? 
These are the odors I love well : 

The smell of coffee freshly ground; 
Or rich plum pudding, holly crowned; 
Or onions fried and deeply browned. 

The fragrance of a fumy pipe; 
The smell of apples, newly ripe; 
And printers' ink on leaden type. 

Woods by moonlight in September 
Breathe most sweet; and I remember 
Many a smoky camp-fire ember. 

Camphor, turpentine, and tea, 
The balsam of a Christmas tree, 
These are whiffs of gramarye. , . 
A skip smells best of all to me! 



[71] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



SMELLS (JUNIOR) 

MY Daddy smells like tobacco and books, 
Mother, like lavender and listerine; 
Uncle John carries a whiff of cigars, 

Nannie smells starchy and soapy and clean. 

Shandy, my dog, has a smell of his own 

(When he's been out in the rain he smells 
most) ; 

But Katie, the cook, is more splendid than all — 
She smells exactly like hot buttered toast I 



[72] 




But Katie, the cook, is more splendid than all- 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



MAR QUONG, CHINESE LAUNDRYMAN 

T LIKE the Chinese laundryman: 
A He smokes a pipe that bubbles, 
And seems, as far as I can tell, 
A man with but few troubles. 
He has much to do, no doubt, 
But also much to think about. 

Most men (for instance I myself) 

Are spending, at all times. 

All our hard-earned quarters. 

Our nickels and our dimes: 

With Mar Quong it's the other way — 

He takes in small change every day. 

Next time you call for collars 
In his steamy little shop. 
Observe how tight his pigtail 
Is coiled and piled on top. 
But late at night he lets it hang 
And thinks of the Yang-tse-kiang. 



[75] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE FAT LITTLE PURSE 

ON Saturdays, after the baby 
Is bathed, fed, and sleeping serene, 
His mother, as quickly as may be. 
Arranges the household routine. 
She rapidly makes herself pretty 

And leaves the young limb with his nurse. 
Then gaily she starts for the city. 
And with her the fat little purse. 

She trips through the crowd at the station. 

To the rendezvous spot where we meet. 
And keeping her eyes from temptation, 

She avoids the most windowy street I 
She is off for the Weekly Adventure; 

To her comrade for better and worse 
She says, "Never mind, when you've spent your 

Last bit, here's the fat little purse." 

Apart, in her thrifty exchequer. 

She has hidden what must not be spent: 

Enough for the butcher and baker, 

Katie's wages, and milkman, and rent; 

[76] 



' t " ^^^1 







Perhaps ifs a ragged child crying 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

But the rest of her brave little treasure 
She is gleeful and prompt to disburse — 

What a richness of innocent pleasure 
Can come from her fat little purse ! 

But either by giving or buying, 

The little purse does not stay fat — 
Perhaps it's a ragged child crying, 

Perhaps it's a "pert little hat." 
And the bonny brown eyes that were brightened 

By pleasures so quaint and diverse. 
Look up at me, wistful and frightened, 

To see such a thin little purse. 

The wisest of all financiering 

Is that which is done by our wives: 
By some little known profiteering 

They add twos and twos and make fives ; 
And, husband, if you would be learnincr 

The secret of thrift, it is terse: 
Invest the great part of your earning 

In her little, fat little purse. 



[79] 



CHIMNEYS MOKE 



THE REFLFXTION 

(To N. B. D.) 

I HAVE not heard her voice, nor seen her 
face, 
Nor touched her hand; 
And yet some echo of her woman's grace 
I understand. 



I have no picture of her lovelihood, 

Her smile, her tint; 
But that she is both beautiful and good 

I have true hint. 



In all that my friend thinks and says, I see 

Her mirror true; 
His thought of her is gentle; she must be 

All gentle too. 

In all his grief or laughter, work or play, 

Each mood and whim. 
How brave and tender, day by common day, 

She speaks through him! 

[80] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

Therefore I say I know her, be her face 

Or dark or fair — 
For when he shows his heart's most secret place 

I see her there ! 



[81] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE BALLOON PEDDLER 

WHO is the man on Chestnut street 
With colored toy balloons'? 
I see him with his airy freight 

On sunny afternoons — 
A peddler of such lovely goods! 

The heart leaps to behold 
His mass of bubbles, red and green 
And blue and pink and gold. 

For sure that noble peddler man 

Hath antic merchandise: 
His toys that float and swim in air 

Attract my eager eyes. 
Perhaps he is a changeling prince 

Bewitched through magic moons 
To tempt us solemn busy folk 

With meaningless balloons. 

Beware, oh, valiant merchantman, 
Tread cautious on the pave! 

Lest some day come some realist, 
Some haggard soul and grave, 

[82] 










The Balloon Feddler 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

A puritan efRcientist 

Who deems thy toys a sin — 
He'll stalk thee madly from behind 

And prick them with a pin ! 



rs?] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



LINES FOR AN ECCENTRIC'S 
BOOK PLATE 

TO use my books all friends are bid ; 
My shelves are open for 'em; 
And in each one, as Grolier did, 
I write Et Amicorum. 

All lovely things in truth belong 
To him who best employs them; 

The house, the picture and the song 
Are his who most enjoys them. 

Perhaps this book holds precious lore, 
And you may best discern it. 

If you appreciate it more 

Than I — why don't return it I 



[86] 



RfilSl 




If you appreciate it more 
Than I — why don't return it! 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



H 



TO A POST-OFFICE INKWELL 

OW many humble hearts have dipped 



In you, and scrawled their manuscript! 
Have shared their secrets, told their cares, 
Their curious and quaint affairs I 

Your pool of ink, your scratchy pen, 
Have moved the lives of unborn men, 
And watched young people, breathing hard, 
Put Heaven on a postal card. 



[89] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE CRIB 

I SOUGHT immortality 
Here and there — 
I sent my rockets 

Into the air : 
I gave my name 

A hostage to ink; 
I dined a critic 

And bought him drink. 



I spurned the weariness 

Of the flesh; 
Denied fatigue 

And began afresh — 
If men knew all, 

How they would laugh! 
I even planned 

My epitaph. . . . 

And then one night 

When the dusk was thin 
I heard the nursery 

Rites begin: 



[90] 







And then one night 

When the dusk was thin 
I heard the nursery 

Rites begin — ■ 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

I heard the tender 

Soothings said 
Over a crib, and 

A small sweet head. 

Then in a flash 

It came to me 
That there was my 

Immortality! 



[93] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE POET 



THE barren music of a word or phrase, 
The futile arts of sylhible and stress, 
He sought. The poetry of common days 
He did not guess. 

The simplest, sweetest rhythms life affords — - 
Unselfish love, true effort truly done. 

The tender themes that underlie all words — 
He knew not one. 

The human cadence and the subtle chime 

Of little laughters, home and child and wife, 

He knew not. Artist merely in his rhyme, 
Not in his life. 



[94] 




The human cadence and the subtle chime 
Of little laughters — - 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO A DISCARDED MIRROR 



3n£q I3vli8 luo^ aio^dd ,28eI§ HA3 ^T" 

;iiBri i3fl bn3J oJ baau ^(b£I ^M vj. 
nij^y ni oz'ib luo^ doiK^z I 53^ bnA 
.3i3flj i3ff ^o wobBria 9mo2 bnh oT 

fid-ghd bnn q^sb ,oi§Ern luo^ :Jff§uodj I 
:bIod noi:J33ft3i inab amos llbz jrigiM 

,3Jiffw aiabluoria lo 83^9 ^o 3nil§ amoS 
.bio ^o 310W aria anwos ^o rianft arrioS 



'C5 



IIko31 llbz 38L;m bnuoi bsdailoq luoY 
-wons 3^il ifoan arij ,3D£^ §nifl§ucl adT 

JIew ^bnol luoY no (ladmarnaH 
!o§E §no{ uo^{ baau n3bH JfidT 



[97] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO A CHILD 

THE greatest poem ever known 
Is one all poets have outgrown: 
The poetry, innate, untold. 
Of being only four years old. 



Still young enough to be a part 
Of Nature's great impulsive heart. 
Born comrade of bird, beast and tree 
And unself conscious as the bee — 



And yet with lovely reason skilled 
Each day new paradise to build; 
Elate explorer of each sense. 
Without dismay, without pretence! 



In your unstained transparent eyes 
There is no conscience, no surprise: 
Life's queer conundrums you accept, 
Your strange divinity still kept. 

[98] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

Being, that now absorbs you, all. 
Harmonious, unit, integral. 
Will shred into perplexing bits, — 
Oh, contradictions of the wits! 

And Life, that sets all things in rhyme, 
May make } ou poet, too, in time — 
But there were days, O tender elf, 
When you were Poetry itself I 



[99] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO A VERY YOUNG GENTLEMAN 

MY child, what painful vistas are before you I 
What years of youthful ills and pangs 
and bumps — 
Indignities from aunts who "just adore" you, 
And chicken-pox and measles, croup and 
mumps I 
I don't wish to dismay you, — it's not fair to, 

Promoted now from bassinet to crib, — 
But, O my babe, what troubles flesh is heir to 
Since God first made so free with Adam's rib I 



Laboriously you will proceed with teething; 
When teeth are here, you'll meet the dentist's 
chair; 
They'll teach you ways of walking, eating, 
breathing. 
That stoves are hot, and how to brush your hair; 
And so, my poor, undaunted little stripling. 

By bruises, tears, and trousers you will grow, 
And, borrowing a leaf from Mr. Kipling, 
ril wish you luck, and moralize you so: 
[loo] 




What years of youthful ills and -pangs and humps — 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

If you can think up seven thousand methods 

Of giving cooks and parents heart disease; 
Can rifle pantry-shelves, and then give death odds 

By water, fire, and falling out of trees; 
If you can fill your every boyish minute 

With sixty seconds' worth of mischief done. 
Yours is the house and everything that's in it, 

And, which is more, you'll be your father's son I 



[103] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO AN OLD-FASHIONED POET 

(Lizette Woodworth Reese) 

MOST tender poet, when the gods confer 
They save your gracile songs a nook apart, 
And bless with Time's untainted hivender 
The ageless April of your singing heart. 

You, in an age unbridled, ne'er declined 

The appointed patience that the Muse decrees. 

Until, deep in the flower of the mind 

The hovering words alight, like bridegroom 
bees. 

By casual praise or casual blame unstirred 

The placid gods grant gifts where they belong: 

To you, who understand, the perfect word. 
The recompensed necessities of song. 



[104] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



BURNING LEAVES IN SPRING 

WHEN withered leaves are lost in flame 
Their eddying ghosts, a thin blue haze, 
Blow through the thickets whence they came 
On amberlucent autumn days. 

The cool green woodland heart receives 
Their dim, dissolving, phantom breath; 

In young hereditary leaves 

They see their happy life-in-death. 

My minutes perish as they glow — 

Time burns my crazy bonfire through; 

But ghosts of blackened hours still blow, 
Eternal Beauty, back to you I 



[loj] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



BURNING LEAVES, NOVEMBER 

THESE are folios of April, 
All the library of spring, 
Missals gilt and rubricated 
With the frost's illumining. 



Ruthless, we destroy these treasures, 
Set the torch with hand profane — 

Gone, like Alexandrian vellums, 
Like the books of burnt LouvainI 

Yet these classics are immortal: 
O collectors, have no fear, 

For the publisher will issue 
New editions every year. 



[106] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



A VALENTINE GAME 

{For Two Players) 

THEY have a game, thus played : 
He says unto his maid 
What are those shhilng things 
So hroiun^ so golden brown? 
And she, in doubt, replies 

How now, what shining things 
So brown? 

But then, she coming near, 
To see more clear, 
He looks again, and cries 
(All startled with surprise) 

Sweet wretch, they are your eyes, 

So brown, so brown! 



The climax and the end consist 
In kissing, and in being kissed. 



fioy] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



FOR A BIRTHDAY 



A 



T TWO years old the world he sees 

Must seem expressly made to please ! 
Such new-found words and games to try, 
Such sudden mirth, he knows not why, 

So many curiosities ! 

As life about him, by degrees 
Discloses all its pageantries 
He watches with approval shy 
At two years old. 

With wonders tired he takes his ease 
At dusk, upon his mother's knees: 
A little laugh, a little cry, 
Put toys to bed, then "seepy-bye" — 
The world is made of such as these 
At two years old. 



[108] 




A Birthday 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



KEATS 

(1821-1921) 

WHEN sometimes, on a moony night, I've 
passed 
A street-lamp, seen my doubled shadow flee, 
I've noticed how much darker, clearer cast. 
The full moon poured her silhouette of me. 

Just so of spirits. Beauty's silver light 

Limns with a ray more pure, and tenderer too: 

Men's clumsy gestures, to unearthly sight. 

Surpass the shapes they show by human view. 

On this brave world, where few such meteors fell. 
Her youngest son, to save us. Beauty flung. 

He suffered and descended into hell — 

And comforts yet the ardent and the young. 

Drunken of moonlight, dazed by draughts of sky, 
Dizzy with stars, his mortal fever ran: 

His utterance a moon-enchanted cry 

Not free from folly — for he too was man. 

[Ill] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



And now and here, a hundred years away, 
Where topless towers shadow golden streets. 

The young men sit, nooked in a cheap cafe. 
Perfectly happy . . . talking about Keats. 



[1121 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO H. F. M. 

A SONNET IN SUNLIGHT 



T 



iHIS is a day for sonnets: Oh how clear 
Our splendid cliffs and summits lift the 
gaze— 
If all the perfect moments of the year 

Were poured and gathered in one sudden blaze, 

Then, then perhaps, in some endowered phrase 

My flat strewn words would rise and come more 

near 

To tell of you. Your beauty and your praise 

Would fall like sunlight on this paper here. 

Then I would build a sonnet that would stand 
Proud and perennial on this pale bright sky; 

So tall, so steep, that it might stay the hand 
Of Time, the dusty wrecker. He would sigh 

To tear my strong words down. And he would 
say: 

"That song he built for her, one summer day." 



[113] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



QUICKENING 

SUCH little, puny things are words in rhyme: 
Poor feeble loops and strokes as frail as 
hairs; 
You see them printed here, and mark their chime, 
And turn to your more durable affairs. 
Yet on such petty tools the poet dares 
To run his race with mortar, bricks and lime, 

And draws his frail stick to the point, and stares 
To aim his arrow at the heart of Time. 

Intangible, yet pressing, hemming in, 
This measured emptiness engulfs us all, 

And yet he points his paper javelin 

And sees it eddy, waver, turn, and fall. 

And feels, between delight and trouble torn, 

The stirring of a sonnet still unborn. 



[114] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



AT A WINDOW SILL 

^ I 10 WRITE a sonnet needs a quiet mind. . . . 

1. I paused and pondered, tried again. To 

ivrite. . . . 
Raising the sash, I breathed the winter night : 
Papers and small hot room were left behind. 
Against the gusty purple, ribbed and spined 
With golden slots and vertebrae of light 
Men's cages loomed. Down sliding from a height 
An elevator winked as it declined. 

Coward I There is no quiet in the brain — 
If pity burns it not, then beauty will: 
Tinder it is for every blowing spark. 
LIncertain whether this is bliss or pain 
The unresting mind will gaze across the sill 
From high apartment windows, in the dark. 



[115:] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

THE RIVER OF LIGHT 

I. Broadway, 103rd to 96th. 

LIGHTS foam and bubble down the gentle 
grade : 
Bright shine chop sueys and rotisseries; 
In pink translucence glowingly displayed 
See camisole and stocking and chemise. 
Delicatessen windows full of cheese — 
Above, the chimes of church-bells toll and fade — 
And then, from off some distant Palisade 
That gluey savor on the Jersey breeze I 

The burning bulbs, in green and white and red, 
Spell out a Change of Program Sun., Wed., Fri., 
A clicking taxi spins with ruby spark. 
There is a sense of poising near the head 
Of some great flume of brightness, flowing by 
To pour in gathering torrent through the dark. 



[116] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

THE RIVER OF LIGHT 

11. Below 96th 

THE current quickens, and in golden flow 
Hurries its flotsam downward through the 
night — 
Here are the rapids where the undertow 
Whirls endless motors in a gleaming flight. 
From blazing tributaries, left and right, 
Influent streams of blue and amber grow. 
Columbus Circle eddies: all below 
Is pouring flame, a gorge of broken light. 

See how the burning river boils in spate, 
Channeled by cliffs of insane jewelry. 
Painting a rosy roof on cloudy air — 
And just about ten minutes after eight, 
Tossing a surf of color to the sky 
It bursts in cataracts upon Times Square! 



[117] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



OF HER GLORIOUS MADNESS 

THE city's mad: through her prodigious veins 
What errant, strange, eccentric humors 
thrill : 
Day, when her cataracts of sunlight spill — 
Night, golden-panelled with her window panes; 
The toss of wind-blown skirts; and who can drill 
Forever his fierce heart with checking reins'? 
Cruel and mad, my statisticians say — 
Ah, but she raves in such a gallant way I 

Brave madness, built for beauty and the sun — 
In such a town who can be sane? Not I. 
Of clashing colors all her moods are spun — 
A scarlet anger and a golden cry. 
This frantic town where madcap mischiefs run 
They ask to take the veil, and be a nun I 



[118] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



IN AN AUCTION ROOM 

{Letter of John Keats to Fanny Brazvne, Ander- 
son Galleries, March 15, 1920.) 

To Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach. 

T TOW about this lot? said the auctioneer; 
X JL One hundred, may I say, just for a start? 
Between the plum-red curtains, drawn apart, 
A written sheet was held. . . . And strange to 

hear 
(Dealer, would I were steadfast as thou art) 
The cold quick bids. {Against you in the rear!) 
The crimson salon, in a glow more clear 
Burned bloodlike purple as the poet's heart. 

Song that outgrew the singer ! Bitter Love 
That broke the proud hot heart it held in thrall ; 
Poor script, where still those tragic passions 
move — 

Eight hundred bid: fair warning: the last call: 

The soul of Adonais, like a star. . . . 

Sold for eight hundred dollars — Doctor R.I 



[119] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



EPITAPH FOR A POET WHO WROTE NO 
POETRY 

"It is said that a poet has died young in the breast 
of the most stolid." — Robert Louis Stevenson, 

WHAT was the service of this poet? He 
Who blinked the blinding dazzle-rays that 
run 
Where life profiles its edges to the sun, 
And still suspected much he could not see. 
Clay-stopped, yet in his taciturnity 
There lay the vein of glory, known to none; 
And moods of secret smiling, only won 
When peace and passion, time and sense, agree. 

Fighting the world he loved for chance to brood. 
Ignorant when to embrace, when to avoid 
His loves that held him in their vital clutch — 
This was his service, his beatitude; 
This was the inward trouble he enjoyed 
Who knew so little, and who felt so much. 



[120] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



SONNET BY A GEOMETER 

THE CIRCLE 

FEW things are perfect: we bear Eden's scar; 
Yet faulty man was godlike in design 
That day when first, with stick and length of 

twine, 
He drew me on the sand. Then what could mar 
His joy in that obedient mystic line; 
And then, computing with a zeal divine. 
He called tt 3-point-i4i59 
And knew my lovely circuit 2 tt r! 

A circle is a happy thing to be — 
Think how the joyful perpendicular 
Erected at the kiss of tangency 
Must meet my central point, my avatar! 
They talk of 14 points: yet only 3 
Determine every circle: Q. E. D. 



[121] 



HIMNEYSMOKE 



TO A VAUDEVILLE TERRIER 
SEEN ON A LEASH, IN THE PARK 

THREE times a day — at two, at seven, at 
nine — 
O terrier, you play your little part: 
Absurd in coat and skirt you push a cart. 
With inner anguish walk a tight-rope line. 
Up there, before the hot and dazzling shine 
You must be rigid servant of your art. 
Nor watch those fluffy cats — your doggish heart 
Might leap and then betray you with a whine ! 

But sometimes, when you've faithfully rehearsed. 
Your trainer takes you walking in the park, 
Straining to sniff the grass, to chase a frog. 
The leash is slipped, and then your joy will 

burst — 
Adorable it is to run and bark. 
To be — alas, how seldom — just a dog! 



[122] 




You must be rigid servant of your art! 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO AN OLD FRIEND 

(For Lloyd Williams.) 

I LIKE to dream of some established spot 
Where you and I, old friend, an evening 
through 
Under tobacco's fog, streaked gray and blue, 
Might reconsider laughters unforgot. 
Beside a hearth-glow, golden-clear and hot, 
I'd hear you tell the oddities men do. 
The clock would tick, and we would sit, we two — 
Life holds such meetings for us, does it not*? 

Happy are men when they have learned to prize 
The sure unvarnished virtue of their friends. 
The unchanged kindness of a well-known face : 
On old fidelities our world depends. 
And runs a simple course in honest wise. 
Not a mere taxicab shot wild through space I 



[12J] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO A BURLESQUE SOUBRETTE 

UPSTAGE the great high-shafted beefy choir 
Squawked in 2000 watts of orange glare — 
You came, and impudent and deuce-may-care 
Danced where the gutter flamed with footlight 
fire. 

Flung from the roof, spots red and yellow burned 
And followed you. The blatant brassy clang 
Of instruments drowned out the words you 
sang, 

But goldenly you capered, twirled and turned. 

Boyish and slender, child-limbed, quick and 
proud, 
A sprite of irresistible disdain, 
Fair as a jonquil in an April rain, 
You seemed too sweet an imp for that dull 
crowd. . , . 

And then, behind the scenes, I heard you say, 
"0 Gawd, I got a hellish cold to-day!" 



[126] 




Yoli came, and impudent and deuce-may-care 
Danced where the gutter -flamed with footlight fire. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THOUGHTS WHILE PACKING A TRUNK 

THE sonnet is a trunk, and you must pack 
With care, to ship frail baggage far away; 
The octet is the trunk; sestet, the tray; 
Tight, but not overloaded, is the knack. 
First, at the bottom, heavy thoughts you stack. 
And in the chinks your adjectives you lay — 
Your phrases, folded neatly as you may, 
Stowing a syllable in every crack. 

Then, in the tray, your daintier stuff is hid : 
The tender quatrain where your moral sings — 

Be careful, though, lest as you close the lid 

You crush and crumple all these fragile things. 

Your couplet snaps the hasps and turns the key — 

Ship to The Editor, marked C. O. D. 



[129] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



STREETS 

I HAVE seen streets where strange enchant- 
ment broods: 
Old ruddy houses where the morning shone 
In seemly quiet on their tranquil moods, 
Across the sills white curtains outward blown. 
Their marble steps were scoured as white as bone 
Where scrubbing housemaids toiled on wounded 

knee — 
And yet, among all streets that I have known 
These placid byways give least peace to me. 

In such a house, where green light shining through 

(From some back garden) framed her silhouette 

I saw a girl, heard music blithely sung. 

She stood there laughing, in a dress of blue, 

And as I went on, slowly, there I met 

An old, old woman, who had once been young. 



[130] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO THE ONLY BEGETTER 



I HAVE no hope to make you live in rhyme 
Or with your beauty to enrich the years — 
Enough for me this now, this present time; 
The greater claim for greater sonneteers. 
But O how covetous I am of NOW — 
Dear human minutes, marred by human pains — 
I want to know your lips, your check, your brow. 
And all the miracles 3/our heart contains, 
I wish to study all 3'our changing face, 
Your eyes, divinely hurt with tenderness; 
I hope to win your dear unstinted grace 
For these blunt rhymes and what they would 

express. 
Then may you say, when others better prove : — 
''Theirs for their style Fll read, his for his love." 



[131] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO THE ONLY BEGETTER 



WHEN all my trivial rhymes are blotted out, 
Vanished our days, so precious and so few, 
If some should wonder what we were about 
And what the little happenings we knew: 
I wish that they might know how, night by night, 
My pencil, heavy in the sleepy hours, 
Sought vainly for some gracious way to write 
How much this love is ours, and only ours. 
How many evenings, as you drowsed to sleep, 
I read to you by tawny candle-glow. 
And watched you down the valley dim and deep 
Where poppies and the April flowers grow. 
Then knelt beside your pillow with a prayer. 
And loved the breath of pansies in your hair. 



[132] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



PEDOMETER 



MY thoughts beat out in sonnets while I 
walk, 
And every evening on the homeward street 
I find the rhythm of my marching feet 
Throbs into verses (though the rhyme may balk). 
I think the sonneteers were walking men : 
The form is dour and rigid, like a clamp. 
But with the swing of legs the tramp, tramp, 

tramp 
Of syllables begins to thud, and then — 
Lol while you seek a rhyme for hook or crook 
Vanished your shabby coat, and you are kith 
To all great walk-and-singers — Meredith, 
And Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, and Ru- 
pert Brooke I 
Free verse is poor for walking, but a sonnet — 
O marvellous to stride and brood upon it I 



[133] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



HOSTAGES 



"He that hath wife and children hath given 
hostages to fortune." — Bacon. 

AYE, Fortune, thou hast hostage of my best ! 
I, that was once so heedless of thy frown, 
Have armed thee cap-a-pie to strike me down. 
Have given thee blades to hold against my breast. 
My virtue, that was once all self-possessed. 
Is parceled out in little hands, and brown 
Bright eyes, and in a sleeping baby's gown: 
To threaten these will put me to the test. 

Sure, since there are these pitiful poor chinks 
Upon the makeshift armor of my heart, 
For thee no honor lies in such a fight I 
And thou wouldst shame to vanquish one, me- 
thinks. 
Who came awake with such a painful start 
To hear the coughing of a child at night. 



[134] 




■t»i.A'*S Pifr^trY 



Hostages. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



ARS DURA 



HOW many evenings, walking soberly 
Along our street all dappled with rich sun, 
I please myself with words, and happily 
Time rhymes to footfalls, planning how they run; 
And yet, when midnight comes, and paper lies 
Clean, white, receptive, all that one can ask, 
Alas for drowsy spirit, weary eyes 
And traitor hand that fails the well loved task I 

Who ever learned the sonnet's bitter craft 

But he had put away his sleep, his ease. 

The wine he loved, the men with whom he 

laughed ^ 
To brood upon such thankless tricks as these? 
And yet, such joy does in that craft abide 
He greets the paper as the groom the bride! 



[137] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



O. HENRY— APOTHECARY 

("O. Henry" once worked in a drug-store in 
Greensboro, N. C.) 

WHERE once he measured camphor, glyc- 
erine, 
Quinine and potash, peppermint in bars. 
And all the oils and essences so keen 
That druggists keep in rows of stoppered jars — 
Now, blender of strange drugs more volatile, 
The master pharmacist of joy and pain 
Dispenses sadness tinctured with a smile 
And laughter that dissolves in tears again. 

O brave apothecary ! You who knew 

What dark and acid doses life prefers 

And yet with friendly face resolved to brew 

These sparkling potions for your customers — 

In each prescription your Physician writ 

You poured your rich compassion and your wit! 



[■38] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



FOR THE CENTENARY OF KEATS'S 
SONNET (1816) 

"On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer." 



I 



KNEW a scientist, an engineer, 



Student of tensile strengths and calculus, 
A man who loved a cantilever truss 
And always wore a pencil on his ear. 
My friend believed that poets all were queer, 
And literary folk ridiculous; 

But one night, when it chanced that three of us 
Were reading Keats aloud, he stopped to hear. 

Lo, a new planet swam into his ken ! 

His eager mind reached for it and took hold. 

Ten years are by: I see him now and then, 

And at alumni dinners, if cajoled. 

He mumbles gravely, to the cheering men: — 

Much have I travelled in the realms of gold. 



[139] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TWO O'CLOCK 



NIGHT after night goes by: and clocks still 
chime 
And stars are changing patterns in the dark, 
And watches tick, and over-puissant Time 

Benumbs the eager brain. The dogs that bark, 
The trains that roar and rattle in the night, 

The very cats that prowl, all quiet find 
And leave the darkness empty, silent quite : 
Sleep comes to chloroform the fretting mind. 

So all things end: and what is left at last^ 

Some scribbled sonnets tossed upon the floor, 
A memory of easy days gone past, 

A run-down watch, a pipe, some clothes we 
wore — 
And in the darkened room I lean to know 

How warm her dreamless breath does pause 
and flow. 



[140] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE COMMERCIAL TRAVELLER 

AH very sweet ! If news should come to you 
Some afternoon, while waiting for our eve, 
That the great Manager had made me leave 
To travel on some territory new; 
And that, whatever homeward winds there blew, 
I could not touch your hand again, nor heave 
The logs upon our hearth and bid you weave 
Some wistful tale before the flames that grew. . . . 

Then, when the sudden tears had ceased to blind 
Your pansied eyes, I wonder if you could 
Remember rightly, and forget aright? 
Remember just your lad, uncouthly good. 
Forgetting when he failed in spleen or spite? 
Could you remember him as always kind? 



ruii 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE WEDDED LOVER 

I READ in our old journals of the days 
When our first love was April-sweet and new, 
How fair it blossomed and deep-rooted grew 
Despite the adverse time; and our amaze 
At moon and stars and beauty beyond praise 
That burgeoned all about us : gold and blue 
The heaven arched us in, and all we knew 
Was gentleness. We walked on happy ways. 

They said by now the path would be more steep, 
The sunsets paler and less mild the air; 
Rightly we heeded not : it was not true. 
We will not tell the secret — let it keep. 
I know not how I thought those days so fair 
These being so much fairer, spent with you. 



[142] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO YOU, REMEMBERING THE PAST 

WHEN we were parted, sweet, and darkness 
came, 
I used to strike a match, and hold the flame 
Before your picture and would breathless mark 
The answering glimmer of the tiny spark 
That brought to lite the magic of your eyes, 
Their wistful tenderness, their glad surprise. 

Holding that mimic torch before your shrine 
I used to light your eyes and make them mine; 
Watch them like stars set in a lonely sky, 
Whisper my heart out, yearning for reply; 
Summon your lips from far across the sea 
Bidding them live a twilight hour with me. 

Then, when the match was shrivelled into gloom, 
Lo — you were with me in the darkened room. 



[1431 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

CHARLES AND MARY 

(December 27, 1834.) 

Lamb died just before I left town, and Mr. Ryle of 
the E. India House, one of his extors., notified it to me. 
. . . He said Miss L. was resigned and composed at the 
event, but it was from her malady, then in mild type, so 
that when she saw her brother dead, she observed on his 
beauty when asleep and apprehended nothing further. 
— Letter of John Rickman, 24 January, 1835. 

I HEAR their voices still : the stammering one 
Struggling with some absurdity of jest; 
Her quiet words that puzzle and protest 
Against the latest outrage of his fun. 
So wise, so simple — has she never guessed 
That through his laughter, love and terror run*? 
For when her trouble came, and darkness pressed, 
He smiled, and fought her madness with a pun. 

Through all those years it was his task to keep 

Her gentle heart serenely mystified. 

If Fate's an artist, this should be his pride — 

When, in that Christmas season, he lay dead, 

She innocently looked. "I always said 

That Charles is really handsome when asleep." 

[144] 



A 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

TO A GRANDMOTHER 

T six o'clock in the evenim 



't>' 



The time for lullabies, 
My son lay on my mother's lap 

With sleepy, sleepy eyes! 
(0 drowsy little manny boy. 

With sleepy^ sleepy eyes! ) 

I heard her sing, and rock him, 

And the creak of the swaying chair. 

And the old dear cadence of the words 
Came softly down the stair. 

And all the years had vanished, 
All folly, greed, and stain — 

The old, old song, the creaking chair, 
The dearest arms again! 

(0 lucky little manny hoy. 
To feel those arms again!) 



ri45] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



DIARISTS 



THEY catalogue their minutes: Now, now, 
now. 
Is Actual, amid the fugitive; 
Take ink and pen (they say) for that is how 
We snare this flying life, and make it live. 
So to their little pictures, and they sieve 

Their happinesses : fields turned by the plough. 
The afterglow that summer sunsets give. 
The razor concave of a great ship's bow. 

O gallant instinct, folly for men's mirth I 
Type cannot burn and sparkle on the page. 

No glittering ink can make this written word 
Shine clear enough to speak the noble rage 

And instancy of life. All sonnets blurred 
The sudden mood of truth that gave them 
birth. 



[146] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE LAST SONNET 

SUPPOSE one knew that never more might 
one 
Put pen to sonnet, well loved task; that now 
These fourteen lines were all he could allow 
To say his message, be forever done; 
How he would scan the word, the line, the rhyme. 
Intent to sum in dearly chosen phrase 
The windy trees, the beauty of his days. 
Life's pride aod pathos in one verse sublime. 
How bitter then would be regret and pang 
For former rhymes he dallied to refine. 
For every verse that was not crystalline. . . . 
And if belike this last one feebly rang, 
Honor and pride would cast it to the floor 
Facing the judge with what was done before. 



ri47i 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE SAVAGE 



c 



IVILIZATION causes me 
Alternate fits: disgust and dee. 



Buried in piles of glass and stone 
My private spirit moves alone, 

Where every day from eight to six 
I keep alive by hasty tricks. 

But I am simple in my soul ; 
My mind is sullen to control. 

At dusk I smell the scent of earth, 
And I am dumb — too glad for mirth. 

I know the savors night can give, 
And then, and then, I live, I live I 

No man is wholly pure and free, 
For that is not his destiny. 

But though I bend, I will not break: 
And still be savage, for Truth's sake. 

God damns the easily convinced 

(Like Pilate, when his hands he rinsed). 

[148] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



ST. PAUL'S AND WOOL WORTH 

I STOOD on the pavement 
Where I could admire 
Behind the brown chapel 
The cream and gold spire. 

Above, gilded Lightning 
Swam high on his ball — 

I saw the noon shadow 
The church of St. Paul. 

And was there a meaning? 

(My fancy would run), 
Saint Paul in the shadow. 

Saint Frank in the sun I 



[HQ] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



ADVICE TO A CITY 

OCITY, cage your poets I Hem them in 
And roof them over from the April sky — 
Clatter them round with babble, ceaseless din, 
And drown their voices with your thunder cry. 

Forbid their free feet on the windy hills, 
And harness them to daily ruts of stone — 

(In florists' windows lock the daifodils) 
And never, never let them be alone I 

For they are curst, said poets, curst and lewd. 
And freedom gives their tongues uncanny wit, 

And granted silence, thought and solitude 
They {absU ome?i!) might make Song of it. 

So cage them in, and stand about them thick, 
And keep them busy with their daily bread; 

And should their eyes seem strange, ah, then be 
quick 
To interrupt them ere the word be said. . . . 

For, if their hearts burn with sufficient rage. 
With wasted sunsets and frustrated youth, 

Some day they'll cry, on some disturbing page, 
The savage, sweet, unpalatable truth! 

[150] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE TELEPHONE DIRECTORY 

NO MALORY of old romance, 
No Crusoe tale, it seems to me, 
Can equal in rich circumstance 
This telephone directory. 



No ballad of fair ladies' eyes, 

No legend of proud knights and dames, 
Can fill me with such bright surmise 

As this great book of numbered names I 



How many hearts and lives unknown. 
Rare damsels pining for a squire, 

Are waiting for the telephone 

To ring, and call them to the wire. 



Some wait to hear ?• loved voice say 
The news they will rejoice to know 

At Rome 2637 J 
Or Marathon 1450! 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

And some, perhaps, are stung with fear 
And answer with reluctant tread: 

The message they expect to hear 

Means life or death or daily bread. 

A million hearts here wait our call, 
All naked to our distant speech — 

I wish that I could ring them all 

And have some welcome news for each I 



rip] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



GREEN ESCAPE 



AT three o'clock in the afternoon 
On a hot September day, 
I began to dream of a highland stream 

And a frostbit russet tree; 
Of the swashing dip of a clipper ship 

(White canvas wet with spray) 
And the swirling green and milk-foarp clean 
Along her canted lee. 

I heard the quick staccato click 

Of the typist's pounding ke3^s, 
And I had to brood of a wind more rude 

Than that by a motor fanned — 
And I lay inert in a flannel shirt 

To watch the rhyming seas 
Deploy and fall in a silver sprawl 

On a beach of sun-blanched sand. 

There is no desk shall tame my lust 

For hills and windy skies; 
My secret hope of the sea's blue slope 

No clerkly task shall dull; 

ri53] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

And though I print no echoed hint 

Of adventures I devise, 
My eyes still pine for the comely line 

Of an outbound vessel's hull. 

When I elope with an autumn day 

And make my green escape, 
I'll leave my pen to tamer men 

Who have more docile souls ; 
For forest aisles and office files 

Have a very different shape, 
And it's hard to woo the ocean blue 

In a row of pigeon holes I 



[1541 




My eyes stUl pine for the comely line 
Of an outbound vessel's hull. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



VESPER SONG FOR COMMUTERS 

{Instead of "Marathon,'' the cotmnuter may sub- 
stitute the name of his favorite suburb^ 

THE stars are kind to Marathon, 
How low, how close, they lean ! 
They jostle one another 
And do their best to please — 
Indeed, they are so neighborly 
That in the twilight green 
One reaches out to pick them 
Behind the poplar trees. 

The stars are kind to Marathon, 

And one particular 

Bright planet (which is Vesper) 

Most lucid and serene. 

Is waiting by the railway bridge, 

The Good Commuter's Star, 

The Star of Wise Men coming home 

On time, at 6:15! 



[157] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE ICE WAGON 



I'D like to split the sky that roofs us down, 
Break through the crystal lid of upper air, 
And tap the cool still reservoirs of heaven, 
I'd empty all those unseen lakes of freshness 
Down some vast funnel, through our stifled 
streets. 

I'd like to pump away the grit, the dust. 
Raw dazzle of the sun on garbage piles, 
The droning troops of flies, sharp bitter smells. 
And gush that bright sweet flood of unused air 
Down every alley where the children gasp. 

And then I'd take a fleet of ice wagons — 

Big yellow creaking carts, drawn by wet horses, — 

And drive them rumbling through the blazing 

slums. 
In every wagon would be blocks of coldness. 
Pale, gleaming cubes of ice, all green and silver. 
With inner veins and patterns, white and frosty; 
Great lumps of chill would drip and steam and 

shimmer. 
And spark like rainbows in their little fractures. 

[158] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

And where my wagons stood there would be 

puddles, 
A wetness and a sparkle and a coolness. 
My friends and I would chop and splinter open 
The blocks of ice. Bare feet would soon come 

pattering, 
And some would wrap it up in Sunday papers. 
And some would stagger home with it in baskets, 
And some would be too gay for aught but sucking, 
Licking, crunching those fast melting pebbles. 
Gulping as they slipped down unexpected — 
Laughing to perceive that secret numbness 
Amid their small hot persons I 

At every stop would be at least one urchin 
Would take a piece to cool the sweating horses 
And hold it up agamst their silky noses — 
And they would start, and then decide they 
liked it. 

Down all the sun-cursed byways of the town 
Our wagons would be trailed by grimy tots, 
Their ragged shirts half off them with excitement! 
Dabbling toes and fingers in our leakage, 
A lucky few up sitting with the driver. 
All clambering and stretching grey-pink palms. 

[159] 



C H I M N E Y S M O K E 

And by the time the wagons were all empty 
Our arms and shoulders would be lame with 

chopping, 
Our backs and thighs pain-shot, our fingers frozen. 
But how we would recall those eager faces, 
Red thirsty tongues with ice-chips sliding on 

them, 
The pinched white cheeks, and their pathetic 

gladness. 
Then we would know that arms were made for 

aching — 

I wish to God that I could go to-morrow ! 



ri6o] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



AT A MOVIE THEATRE 

HOW well he spoke who coined the phrase 
The picture palace! Aye, in sooth 
A palace, where men's weary days 

Are crowned with kingliness of youth. 



Strange palace ! Crowded, airless, dim, 
Where toes are trod and strained eyes smart, 

We watch a wand of brightness limn 
The old heroics of the heart. 



Romance again hath us in thrall 
And Love is sweet and always true, 

And in the darkness of the hall 

Hands clasp — as they were meant to do. 



Remote from peevish joys and ills 

Our souls, pro tem^ are purged and free: 

We see the sun on western hills, 
The crumbling tumult of the sea. 

ri6i] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

We are the blond that maidens crave, 
Well balanced at a dozen banks ; 

By sleight of hand we haste to save 
A brown-eyed life, nor stay for thanks! 

Alas, perhaps our instinct feels 

Life is not all it might have been, 

So we applaud fantastic reels 
Of shadow, cast upon a screen ! 



[162] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



SONNETS IN A LODGING HOUSE 



EACH morn she crackles upward, tread by 
tread, 
All apprehensive of some hideous sight: 
Perhaps the Fourth Floor Back, who reads in bed, 

Forgot his gas and let it burn all night — 
The Sweet Young Thing who has the middle 
room. 
She much suspects: for once some ink was 
spilled, 
And then the plumber, in an hour of gloom. 

Found all the bathroom pipes with tea-leaves 
filled. 



No League of Nations scheme can make her gay — 
She knows the rank duplicity of man; 

Some folks expect clean towels every day. 
They'll get away with murder if they can I 

She tacks a card (alas, few roomers mind it) 

Please leave the tub as you would wish to find it! 

[163] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



Men lodgers are the best, the Mrs. said: 
They don't use my gas jets to fry sardines, 
They don't leave red-hot irons on the spread. 
They're out all morning, when a body cleans. 
A man ain't so secretive, never cares 
What kind of private papers he leaves lay, 
So I can get a line on his affairs 
And dope out whether he is likely pay. 
But women I Sa}', they surely get my bug I 
They stop their keyholes up with chewing gum. 
Spill grease, and hide the damage with the rug, 
And fry marshmallows when their callers come. 
They always are behindhand with their rents — 
Take my advice and let your rooms to gents I 



[164] 




A man ain't so secretive, never cares 
What kind of private papers he leaves lay- 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE MAN WITH THE HOE (PRESS) 

ABOUT these roaring cylinders 
Where leaping words and paper mate, 
A sudden glory moves and stirs — 
An inky cataract in spate I 

What voice for falsehood or for truth, 
What hearts attentive to be stirred — 

How dimly understood, in sooth, 
The power of the printed word ! 

These flashing webs and cogs of steel 
Have shaken empires, routed kings, 

Yet never turn too fast to feel 
The tragedies of humble things. 

O words, be strict in honesty. 
Be just and simple and serene; 

O rhymes, sing true, or you will be 
Unworthy of this great machine I 



ri67i 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE GOD? 

ACROSS the court there rises the back wall 
Of the Magna Carta Apartments. 
The other evening the people in the apartment 

opposite 
Had forgotten to draw their curtains. 
I could see them dining: the well-blanched cloth, 
The silver and glass, the crystal water jug, 
The meat and vegetables; and their clean pink 

hands 
Outstretched in busy gesture. 



It was pleasant to watch them, they were so 

human ; 
So gay, innocent, unconscious of scrutiny. 
They were four: an elderly couple, 
A young man, and a girl — with lo\ ely shoulders 
Mellow in the glow of the lamp. 
They were sitting over coffee, and I could see their 

hands talking. 

At last the older two left the room. 

The boy and girl looked at each other. . . . 

Like a flash, they leaned and kissed. 

[168] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



Good old human race that keeps on multiplying! 
A little later I went down the street to the movies, 
And there I saw all four, laughing and joking 



together. 



And as I watched them I felt like God — 
Benevolent, all-knowing, and tender. 



[169] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



RAPID TRANSIT 

(To Stephen Vincent Benet.) 

CLIMBING is easy and swift on Parnassus! 
Knocking my pipe out, I entered a book- 
shop; 
There found a book of verse by a young poet. 
Comrades at once, how I saw his mind glowing I 
Saw in his soul its magnificent rioting — 
Then I ran with him on hills that were windy, 
Basked and laughed with him on sun-dazzled 

beaches. 
Glutted myself on his green and blue twilights, 
Watched him disposing his planets in patterns. 
Tumbling his colors and toys all before him. 
I questioned life with him, his pulses my pulses; 
Doubted his doubts, too, and grieved for his an- 
guishes. 
Salted long kinship and knew him from boy- 
hood — 
Pulled out my own sun and stars from my knap- 
sack. 
Trying my trinkets with those of his finding — 
And as I left the bookshop 
My pipe was still -warm in my hand. 

[170] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



CAUGHT IN THE UNDERTOW 

COLIN, worshipping some frail. 
By self-deprecation sways her: 
Calls himself unworthy male, 
Hardly even fit to praise her. 

But this tactic insincere 

In the upshot greatly grieves him 
When he finds the lovely dear 

Quite implicitly believes him. 



[171] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO HIS BROWN-EYED MISTRESS 

Who Rallied Him for Fraismg Blue Eyes in His 
Verses 

IF SOMETIMES, in a random phrase 
(For variation in my ditty), 
I chance blue eyes, or gray, to praise 
And seem to intimate them pretty — 

It is because I do not dare 

With too unmixed reiteration 

To sing the browner eyes and hair 
That are my true intoxication. 

Know, then, that I consider brown 
For ladies' eyes, the only color; 

And deem all other orbs in town 

(Compared to yours), opaquer, duller. 

I pray, perpend, my dearest dear; 

While blue-eyed maids the praise were 
drinking. 
How insubstantial was their cheer — 

It was of yours that I was thinking I 

[172] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



PEACE 

WHAT is this Peace 
That statesmen sign? 
How I have sought 
To make it mine. 

Where groaning cities 

Clang and glow 
I hunted, hunted, 

Peace to know. 

And still I saw 

Where I passed by 
Discarded hearts, — 

Heard children cry. 

By willowed waters 

Brimmed with rain 
I thought to capture 

Peace again. 

I sat me down 

My Peace to hoard, 
But Beauty pricked me 

With a sword. 

[173] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

For in the stillness 
Something stirred, 

And I was crippled 
For a word. 

There is no peace 
A man can find; 

The anguish sits 
His heart behind. 

The eyes he loves, 
The perfect breast, 

Too exquisite 

To give him rest. 

This is his curse 
Since brain began. 

His penalty 
For being man. 
May, 1919 



[174] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



SONG, IN DEPRECATION 
OF PULCHRITUDE 

BEAUTY (so the poets say), 
Thou art joy and solace great; 
Long ago, and far away 

Thou art safe to contemplate, 

Beauty. But when now and here, 
Visible and close to touch. 

All too perilously near, 

Thou tormentest us too much ! 

In a picture, in a song, 

In a novel's conjured scenes. 

Beauty, that's where you belong. 
Where perspective intervenes. 

But, my dear, in rosy fact 

Your appeal I have to shirk — 

You disturb me, and distract 
My attention from my work! 



[lyy] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



MOUNTED POLICE 



WATCHFUL, grave, he sits astride his 
horse, 
Draped with his rubber poncho, in the rain; 
He speaks the pungent lingo of "The Force," 
And those who try to bluff him, try in vain. 

Inured to every mood of fool and crank. 

Shrewdly and sternly all the crowd he cons : 

The rain drips down his horse's shining flank, 
A figure nobly fit for sculptor's bronze. 

O knight commander of our city stress, 
Little you know how picturesque you are! 

We hear you cry to drivers who transgress: 
"Say, thafs a helva place to park your car!'' 



[176] 




Mounted Police. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO HIS MISTRESS, DEPLORING THAT 
HE IS NOT AN ELIZABETHAN GALAXY 

WHY did not Fate to me bequeath an 
Utterance Elizabethan^ 
It would have been delight to me 
If natus ante 1603. 

My stuff would not be soon forgotten 
If I could write like Harry Wotton. 

I wish that I could wield the pen 

Like William Drummond of Hawthornden. 

I would not fear the ticking clock 
If I were Browne ot Tavistock. 

For blithe conceits I would not worry 
If I were Raleigh, or the Earl of Surrey. 

I wish (I hope I am not silly?) 
That I could juggle words like Lyly. 

I envy many a lyric champion, 
I. e., viz., e. g., Thomas Campion. 

[179] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

I creak my rhymes up like a derrick, 
I ne'er will be a Robin Herrick. 

My wits are dull as an old Barlow — 
I wish that I were Christopher Marlowe. 

In short, I'd like to be Philip Sidney, 
Or some one else of that same kidney. 

For if I were, my lady's looks 

And all my lyric special pleading 

Would be in all the future books, 

And called, at college, Req^uircd Reading. 



[180] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE INTRUDER 

AS I sat, to sift my dreaming 
To the meet and needed word, 
Came a meriy Interruption 
With insistence to be heard. 

Smiling stood a maid beside me. 
Half alluring and half shy; 

Soft the white hint of her bosom — 
Escapade was in her eye. 

"I must not be so invaded," 
(In an anger then I cried) — 

"Can't you see that I am busy? 
Tempting creature, stay outside ! 

"Pearly rascal, I am writing: 
I am now composing verse — 

Fie on antic invitation: 

Wanton, vanish — fly — disperse ! 

"Baggage, in my godlike moment 
What have I to do with thee?" 

And she laughed as she departed — 
"I am Poetry," said she. 

ri8.] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TIT FOR TAT 

I OFTEN pass a gracious tree 
Whose name I can't identify, 
But still I bow, in courtesy 

It waves a bough, in kind reply. 

I do not know your name, tree 
(Are you a hemlock or a pine'?) 

But why should that embarrass me'? 
Quite probably you don't know mine. 



[182] 




Courtesy 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



SONG FOR A LITTLE HOUSE 



I 



'M glad our house is a little house, 
Not too tall nor too wide: 



Vm glad the hovering butterflies 
Feel free to come inside. 



Our little house is a friendly house. 

It is not shy or vain; 
It gossips with the talking trees, 

And makes friends with the rain. 

And quick leaves cast a shimmer of green 

Against our whited walls. 
And in the phlox, the courteous bees 

Are paying duty calls. 



ri85] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE PLUMPUPPETS 

WHEN little heads weary have gone to their 
bed, 
When all the good nights and the prayers have 

been said, 
Of all the good fairies that send bairns to rest 
The little Plumpuppets are those I love best. 



// your pillow is lumpy ^ or hot, thin and flat. 
The little Plumpuppets knozv just what they're 

at; 
They plump up the pillow, all soft, cool and fat — 
The little Plumpuppets plump-up it I 



The little Plumpuppets are fairies of beds: 
They have nothing to do but to watch sleepy 

heads ; 
They turn down the sheets and they tuck you in 

tight, 
And they dance on your pillow to wish you good 

night I 

[186] 








The Plumptippeti 



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what i i 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

No matter what troubles have bothered the day, 
Though your doll broke her arm or the pup ran 

away; 
Though your handles are black with the ink that 

was spilt — 
Plumpuppets are waiting in blanket and quilt. 

// your pillow is lumpy ^ or hot^ thin and flat^ 
The little Plumpuppets know just what they're 

at; 
They plump up the pillow, all soft, cool and fat — 
The little Plumpuppets plump-up it! 



[189] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



DANDY DANDELION 



WHEN Dandy Dandelion wakes 
And combs his yellow hair, 
The ant his cup of dewdrop takes 

And sets his bed to air; 
The worm hides in a quilt of dirt 

To keep the thrush away, 
The beetle dons his pansy shirt — 
They know that it is day I 



And caterpillars haste to milk 

The cowslips in the grass ; 
The spider, in his web of silk, 

Looks out for flies that pass. 
These humble people leap from bed, 

They know the night is done : 
When Dandy spreads his golden head 

They think he is the sun I 
[190] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

Dear Dandy. truly does not smell 
As sv/eet as some bouquets; 

No florist gathers him to sell, 
He withers in a vase; 

Yet in the grass he's emperor, 
And lord of high renown; 

And grateful little folk adore 



His bright and shining 



fiQi] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE HIGH CHAIR 



GRIMLY the parent matches wit and will : 
Now, Weesy, three more spoons I See 
Tom the cat, 
He'd drink it. You want to be big and fat 
Like Daddy, don't you? (Careful now, don't 

spill!) 
Yes, Daddy'U dance, and blow smoke through his 

nose. 
But you must finish first. Come, drink it up — 
(Splash!) Oh, you //ii/st keep both hands on the 

cup. 
All gone? Now for the prunes. . . . 

And so it goes. 



to" 



This is the battlefield that parents know. 
Where one small splinter of old Adam's rib 
Withstands an entire household offering spoons. 
No use to gnash your teeth. For she will go 
Radiant to bed, glossy from crown to bib 
With milk and cereal and a surf of prunes. 



[192] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT 

NOT long ago I fell in love, 
But unreturned is my affection — 
The girl that I'm enamored of 
Pays little heed in my direction. 

I thought I knew her fairly well: 
In fact, I'd had my arm around her; 

And so it's hard to have to tell 

How unresponsive I have found her. 

For, though she is not frankly rude. 

Her manners quite the wrong way rub me: 

It seems to me ingratitude 

To let me love her — and then snub me I 

Though I'm considerate and fond. 

She shows no gladness when she spies me — 

She gazes off somewhere beyond 
And doesn't even recognize me. 

[193] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

Her eyes, so candid, calm and blue, 
Seem asking if I can support her 

In the style appropriate to 

A lady like her father's daughter. 

Well, if I can't then no one can — 
And let me add that I intend to: 

She'll never know another man 
So fit for her to be a friend to. 

Not love me, eh? She better had I 

By Jove, I'll make her love me one day; 

For, don't you see, I am her Dad, 

And she'll be three weeks old on Sunday I 



[194] 




. . . Ifs hard to have to tell 

How unresponsive I have found her. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



AUTUMN COLORS 

THE chestnut trees turned yellow, 
The oak like sherry browned, 
The fir, the stubborn fellow. 
Stayed green the whole year round. 

But O the bonny maple 
How richly he does shine ! 
He glows against the sunset 
Like ruddy old port wine. 



[197] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE LAST CRICKET 

WHEN the bulb of the moon with 
white fire fills 
And dead leaves crackle under the feet, 
When men roll kegs to the cider mills 
And chestnuts roast on ever}* street; 

When the night sky glows like a hollow shell 
Of lustered emerald and pearl, 

The kilted cricket knows too well 
His doom. His tiny bagpipes skirl. 

Quavering under the polished stars 
In stubble, thicket, and frosty copse 

The cricket blows a few choked bars. 
And puts away his pipe — and stops. 



[198] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



TO LOUISE 

(A Christinas Baby, Now One Year Old.) 

UNDAUNTED by a word of grief 
You came upon perplexing days, 
And cynics doubt their disbelief 
To see the sky-stains in your gaze. 

Your sudden and inclusive smile 
And your emphatic tears, admit 
That you must find this life worth while, 
So eagerly you clutch at it I 

Your face of triumph says, brave mite, 
That life is full of love and luck — 
Of blankets to kick off at night, 
And two soft rose-pink thumbs to suck. 

O loveliest of pioneers 
Upon this trail of long surprise, 
May all the stages of the years 
Show such enchantment in your eyes I 

[199] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

By parents' patient buttonings, 
And endless safety pins, you'll grow 
To ribbons, garters, hooks and things, 
Up to the Ultimate Trousseau — 

But never, in your dainty prime, 
Will you be more adored by me 
Than when you see, this Great First Time, 
Lit candles on a Christmas Tree I 

December, 19,19, 



[200] 




. . . When you see, this Great First Time, 
Lit candles on a Christmas Tree! 





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O 



CHRISTMAS EVE 



UR hearts to-night are open wide, 
The grudge, the grief, are laid aside : 
The path and porch are swept of snow, 
The doors unlatched; the hearthstones glow- 
No visitor can be denied. 



All tender human homes must hide 
Some wistfulness beneath their pride 
Compassionate and humble grow 
Our hearts to-night. 



Let empty chair and cup abide I 

Who knows *? Some well-remembered stride 

May come as once so long ago — ; 

Then welcome, be it friend or foe ! 
There is no anger can divide 



Our hearts to-night 



r^03] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



EPITAPH ON THE PROOFREADER OF 
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA 

MAJESTIC tomes, you are the tomb 
Of Aristides Edward Bloom, 
Who labored, from the world aloof, 
In reading ever}^ page of proof. 

From A to And, from Aus to Bis 
Enthusiasm still was his; 
From Cal to Cha, from Cha to Con 
His soft-lead pencil still went on. 

But reaching volume Era to Gib, 
He knew at length that he was sib 
To Satan; and he sold his soul 
To reach the section Pay to Pol. 

Then Pol to Ree, and Shu to Sub 
He staggered on, and sought a pub. 
And just completing Vet to Zym, 
The motor hearse came round for him. 

He perished, obstinately brave: 
They laid the Index on his grave. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE MUSIC BOX 

AT SIX — long ere the wintry dawn — 
There sounded through the silent hall 
To where I lay, with blankets drawn 
Above my ears, a plaintive call. 

The Urchin, in the eagerness 

Of three years old, could not refrain; 
Awake, he straightway yearned to dress 

And frolic with his clockwork train. 

I heard him with a sullen shock. 

His sister, by her usual plan, 
Had piped us aft at 3 o'clock — 

I vowed to quench the little man. 

I leaned above him, somewhat stern, 
And spoke, I fear, with emphasis — 

Ah, how much better, parents learn. 
To seal one's censure with a kiss ! 

Again the house was dark and still, 

Again I lay in slumber's snare. 
When down the hall I heard a trill, 

A tiny, tinkling, tuneful air — 

[20?] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

His music-box I His best-loved toy, 
His crib companion every night; 

And now he turned to it for joy 

While waiting for the lagging light. 

How clear, and how absurdly sad 

Those tingling pricks of sound unrolled; 

They chirped and quavered, as the lad 
His lonely little heart consoled. 

Columbia^ the Ocean'' s Gem — 

(Its only tune) shrilled sweet and faint. 
He cranked the chimes, admiring them 

In vigil gay, without complaint. 

The treble music piped and stirred, 
The leaping air that was his bliss; 

And, as I most contritely heard, 

I thanked the all-unconscious Swiss! 

The needled jets of melody 

Rang slowlier and died away — 

The Urchin slept; and it was I 
Who lay and waited for the day. 



[206] 




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CHIMNEYSMOKE 

TO LUATH 

(^Robert Burns'' s Dog) 

"Darling Jean'' zcas Jean Armour^ a "comely 
country lass,'' ivhom Burns met at a penny -wed- 
ding at MaucliUne. They chanced to be dancing 
in the same quadrille zvhen the poefs dog sprang 
to his master and almost upset some of the 
dancers. Burns remarked that he wished he could 
get any of the lasses to like him as ivell as his 
dog did. 

Some days afterzcard, Jean, seeing him pass as 
she zvas bleaching clothes on the village green, 
called to him and asked him if he had yet got any 
of the lasses to like him as well as his dog did. 

That zvas the beginning of an acquaintance that 
coloured all of B urns' s life. — Nathan Haskell 
Dole. 

WELL, Luath, man, when you came 
prancing 
All glee to see your Robin dancing, 
His partner's muslin gown mischancing 

You leaped for joy! 
And little guessed what sweet romancing 
You caused, my boy ! 

[209] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

With happy bark, that moment jolly, 
You frisked and frolicked, faithful collie; 
His other dog, old melancholy, 

Was put to flight — 
But what a tale of grief and folly 

You wagged that night I 



Ah, Luath, tyke, your bonny master 
Whose lyric pulse beat ever faster 
Each time he saw a lass and passed her 

His breast went bang I 
In many a woful heart's disaster 

He felt the pang! 



Poor Robin's heart, forever burning, 
Forever roving, ranting, yearning, 
From you that heart might have been 
learning 

To be less fickle! 
Might have been spared so many a turning 

And grievous prickle ! 
[210] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

Your collie heart held but one notion — 
When Robbie jigged in sprightly motion 
You ran to show your own devotion 

And gambolled too, 
And so that tempest on love's ocean 

Was due to you ! 



Well, it is ower late for preaching 
And hearts are aye too hot for teaching! 
When Robin with his eye beseeching 

By greenside came, 
Jeanie — poor lass — forgot her bleaching 

And yours the blame I 



[211] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THOUGHTS ON REACHING LAND 

I HAD a friend whose path was pain — 
Oppressed by all the cares of earth 
Life gave him little chance to drain 
His secret cisterns of rich mirth. 

His work was hasty, harassed, vexed : 
His dreams were laid aside, perforce, 

Until — in this world, or the next. . . . 
(His trade? Newspaper man, of course!) 

What funded wealth of tenderness, 
What ingots of the heart and mind 

He must uneasily repress 

Beneath the rasping daily grind. 

But now and then, and with my aid, 
For fear his soul be wholly lost. 

His devoir to the grape he paid 
To call soul back, at any cost I 

Then, liberate from discipline, 

Undrugged by caution and control. 

Through all his veins came flooding in 
The virtued passion of his soul I 
[212] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

His spirit bared, and felt no shame: 

With holy lip;ht his eyes would shine- 
See Truth her acolyte reclaim 
After the second glass ot wine I 

The self that life had trodden hard 
Aspired, was generous and free: 

The glowing heart that care had charred 
Grew flame, as it was meant to be. 

A pox upon the canting lot 

Who call the glass the Devil's shape — 
A greater pox where'er some sot 

Defiles the honor of the grape. 

Then look with reverence on wine 

That kindles human brains uncouth — 

There must be something part divine 
In aught that brings us nearer Truth ! 

So — continently skull your fumes 
(Here let our little sermon end) 

And bless this X-ray that illumes 
The secret bosom of your friend ! 



[213] 



T 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



A SYMPOSIUM 



HERE was a Russian novelist 
Whose name was Solugubrious, 



The reading circles took him up, 
(They'd heard he was salubrious.) 

The women's club of Cripple Creek 

Soon held a kind of seminar 
To learn just what his message was — 

You know what bookworms women are. 

The tea went round. After five cups 

(You should have seen them bury tea) 
Dear Mrs. Brown said what she liked 

Was the great man's sincerity. 

Sweet Mrs. Jones (how free she was 

From all besetting vanity) 
Declared that she loved even more 

His broad and deep humajiity. 

Good Mrs. Smith, though she disclaimed 
All thought of being critical, 

Protested that she found his work 
A wee bit analytical. 

[214] 



^:^'^i£o^^ 




Solugubrious 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

But Mrs. Black, the President, 
Of wisdom found the pinnacle : 

She said, "Dear me, I always think 
Those Russians are so cynical.'" 

Well, poor old Solugubrious, 

It's true that they had heard of him; 

But neither Brown, Jones, Smith, nor Black 
Had ever read a word of him ! 



[217] 



CHIMNEYS MOKE 



TO A TELEPHONE OPERATOR WHO 
HAS A BAD COLD 

HOW hoarse and husky in my ear 
Your usually cheerful chirrup: 
You have an awful cold, my dear — 
Try aspirin or bronchial syrup. 

When I put in a call to-day 

Compassion stirred my humane blood red 
To hear you faintly, sadly, say 

The number: Burray Hill dide hudred! 

I felt (I say) quick sympathy 

To hear you croak in the receiver — 

Will you be sorry too for me 

A month hence, when I have hay fever"? 



[218] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



NURSERY RHYMES FOR THE 
TENDER-HEARTED 

(Dedicated to Don Marquis.) 



SCUTTLE, scuttle, little roach- 
How you run when I approach : 
Up above the pantry shelf. 
Hastening to secrete yourself. 

Most adventurous of vermin, 
How I wish I could determine 
How you spend your hours of ease. 
Perhaps reclining on the cheese. 

Cook has gone, and all is dark — 
Then the kitchen is your park: 
In the garbage heap that she leaves 
Do you browse among the tea leaves'? 

How delightful to suspect 
All the places you have trekked: 
Does your long antenna whisk its 
Gentle tip across the biscuits? 

[219] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

Do you linger, little soul, 
Drowsing in our sugar bowl? 
Or, abandonment most utter. 
Shake a shimmy on the butter *? 

Do you chant your simple tunes 
Swimming in the baby's prunes'? 
Then, when dawn comes, do you slink 
Homeward to the kitchen sink"? 

Timid roach, why be so shy'? 
We are brothers, thou and I. 
In the midnight, like yourself, 
I explore the pantry shelf I 



[220] 




In the 7nid night, like yourself, 
I explore the pantry shelf! 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



NURSERY RHYMES FOR THE 
TENDER-HEARTED 



ROCKABYE, insect, lie low in thy den, 
Father's a cockroach, mother's a hen. 
And Betty, the maid, doesn't clean up the sink, 
So you shall have plenty to eat and to drink. 

Hushabye, insect, behind the mince pies: 
If the cook sees you her anger will rise; 
She'll scatter poison, as bitter as gall. 
Death to poor cockroach, hen, baby and all. 



[223] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



NURSERY RHYxMES FOR THE 
TENDER-HEARTED 

III 

THERE was a gay henroach, and what do 
you think, 
She lived in a cranny behind the old sink — 
Eggshells and grease were the chief of her diet; 
She went for a stroll when the kitchen was quiet. 

She walked in the pantry and sampled the bread, 
But when she came back her old husband was 

dead: 
Long had he lived, for his legs they were fast. 
But the kitchen maid caught him and squashed 

him at last. 



[224] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



NURSERY RHYMES FOR THE 
TENDER-HEARTED 



IV 



I KNEW a black beetle, who lived down a 
drain, 
And friendly he was though his manners were 

plain; 
When I took a bath he would come up the pipe. 
And together we'd wash and together we'd wipe. 

Though mother would sometimes protest with a 

sneer 
That my choice of a tub-mate was wanton and 

queer, 
A nicer companion I never have seen : 
He bathed every night, so he must have been 

clean. 

Whenever he heard the tap splash in the tub 
He'd dash up the drain-pipe and wait for a scrub, 
And often, so fond of ablution was he, 
rd find him there floating and waiting for me. 

[225] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

But nurse has done something that seems a great 

shame : 
She saw him there, waiting, prepared for a game : 
She turned on the hot and she scalded him sore 
And he'll never come bathing with me any more. 



[226] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE TWINS 

CON was a thorn to brother Pro — 
On Pro we often sicked him: 
Whatever Pro would claim to know 
Old Con would contradict him! 




The Twins 



[227] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



A PRINTER'S MADRIGAL 

{Extremely technical) 

I'D like to have you meet my wife! 
I simply cannot keep from hinting 
I've never seen, in all my life, 
So fine a specimen of printing. 

Her type is not some bold-face font. 
Set solid. Nay! And I will say out 

That no typographer could want 
To see a better balanced layout. 

A nice proportion of white space 

There is for brown eyes to look large in, 

And not a feature in her face 

Comes anywhere too near the margin. 

Locked up with all her sweet display 
Her form will never pi. She's like a 

Corrected proof marked stet, O. K. — 
And yet she loves me, fatface Picei! 

[228] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

She has a fine one-column head, 

And like a comma curves each eyebrow — 

Her forehead has an extra lead 

Which makes her seem a trifle highbrow. 

Her nose, italicized brevier. 

Too lovely to describe by penpoint; 
Her mouth is set in pean: her ear 

And chin are comely Caslon ten-point. 

Her cheeks (a pink parenthesis) 

Make my pulse beat 14-em measure, 

And such typography as this 

Would make De Vinne scream with pleasure. 

And so, of all typefounder chaps 
Her father's best, in my opinion; 

She is my nonpareil (in caps) 
And I (in lower case) her minion; 

I hope you will not stand aloof 

Because my metaphors are shoppy; 

Of her devotion I've a proof — 
I tell the urchin, Follow Copy! 



[229! 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE POET ON THE HEARTH 

WHEN fire is kindled on the dogs, 
But still the stubborn oak delays, 
Small embers laid above the logs 
Will draw them into sudden blaze. 

Just so the minor poet's part: 
(A greater he need not desire) 

The charcoals of his burning heart 
May light some Master into hre I 



[230] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



O PRAISE ME NOT THE COUNTRY 



O PRAISE me not the country — 
The meadows green and cool, 
The solemn glow of sunsets, the hidden silver 
pool ! 
The city for my craving. 
Her lordship and her slaving, 
The hot stones of her paving 
For me, a city fool I 



O praise me not the leisure 
Of gardened country seats. 

The fountains on the terrace against the summer 
heats — 
The city for my yearning. 
My spending and my earning. 
Her winding ways for learning. 
Sing hey I the city streets ! 

[231] 



C H I M N E Y S M O K E 

praise me not the country, 
Her sycamores and bees, 

1 had my youthful plenty of sour apple trees ! 

The city for my wooing, 
My dreaming and my doing; 
Her beauty for pursuing. 

Her deathless mysteries. 



O praise me not the country, 
Her evenings full of stars. 

Her yachts upon the water with the wind amon^ 
their spars — 
The city for my wonder, 
Her glory and her blunder. 
And O the haunting thunder 
Of the Elevated cars! 



[232] 



l^i 







t 




CHIMNEYSMOKE 



A STONE IN ST. PAUL'S GRAVEYARD 

(New York) 

Here Lyes the Body of 
John J ones the Son of 
lohn Jones Who Departed 
This Life December the 7j> 
I yds Aged 4 Years & 4 Months 
& 2 Days 

HERE, where enormous shadows creep, 
He casts his childish shadow too: 
How small he seems, beneath the steep 
Great walls; his tender days, so few, 
Lovingly numbered, every one — 
John Jones, John Jones's little son. 

O sunlight on the Lightning's wings! 

Yet though our buildings skyward climb 
Our heartbreaks are but little things 

In the equality of Time. 
The sum of life, for all men's stones: 
He was John Jones, son of John Jones, 



[23?] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE MADONNA OF THE CURB 

ON the curb of a city pavement, 
By the ash and garbage cans, 
In the stench and rolling thunder 

Of motor trucks and vans, 
There sits my little lady. 

With brave but troubled eyes, 
And in her arms a baby 

That cries and cries and cries. 

She cannot be more than seven; 

But years go fast in the slums. 
And hard on the pains of winter 

The pitiless summer comes. 
The wail of sickly children 

She knows; she understands 
The pangs of puny bodies, 

The clutch of small hot hands. 

In the deadly blaze of August, 

That turns men faint and mad, 
She quiets the peevish urchins 

[236] 











The wail of sichly children 
She knows; she understands 

The pangs of puny bodies. 

The clutch of small hot hands. 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

By telling a dream she had — 
A heaven with marble counters, 

And ice, and a singing fan; 
And a God in white, so friendly, 

Just like the drug-store man. 

Her ragged dress is dearer 

Than the perfect robe of a queen! 
Poor little lass, who knows not 

The blessing of being clean. 
And when you are giving millions 

To Belgian, Pole and Serb, 
Remember my pitiful lady — 

Madonna of the Curb I 



[239] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



THE ISLAND 



A 



SONG for England? 
Nay^ -what is a song for England? 



Our hearts go by green-cliffed Kinsale 

Among the gulls' white wings, 
Or where, on Kentish forelands pale 

The lighthouse beacon swings: 
Our hearts go up the Mersey's tide, 

Come in on Suffolk foam — 
The blood that will not be denied 

Moves fast, and calls us home I 



Our hearts now walk a secret round 

On many a Cotswold hill. 
For we are mixed of island ground, 

The island draws us still: 
Our hearts may pace a windy turn 

Where Sussex downs are high. 
Or watch the lights of London burn, 

A bonfire in the sky I 
[240] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

What is the virtue of that soil 

That flings her strength so wide? 
Her ancient courage, patient toil, 

Her stubborn wordless pride*? 
A little land, yet loved therein 

As any land may be, 
Rejoicing in her discipline. 

The salt stress of the sea. 

Our hearts shall walk a Sherwood track, 

Our lips taste English rain. 
We thrill to see the Union Jack 

Across some deep-sea lane; 
Though all the world be of rich cost 

And marvellous with worth. 
Yet if that island ground were lost 

How empty were the earth! 

A song for ILngland? 

Lo, every -word we speaFs a song for 
England. 



[241] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



SUNDAY NIGHT 



WO grave brown eyes, severely bent 
Upon a memorandum book — 
A sparkling face, on which are blent 

A hopeful and a pensive look; 
A pencil, purse, and book of checks 

With stubs for varying amounts — 
Elaine, the shrewdest of her sex, 
Is busy balancing accounts. 



Sedately, in the big armchair. 

She, all engrossed, the audit scans — 
Her pencil hovers here and there 

The while she calculates and plans; 
What's this*? A faintly pensive frown 

Upon her forehead gathers now — 
Ah, does the butcher — heartless clown — 

Beget that shadow on her brow? 

[242] 




Ah, does the butcher — heartless clown — 
Beget that shadow on her brow? 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

A murrain on the tradesman churl 

Who caused this fair accountant's gloom! 
Just then — a baby's cry — my girl 

Arose and swiftly left the room. 
Then in her purse by stratagem 

I thrust some bills of small amounts — • 
She'll think she had forgotten them, 

And smile again at her accounts I 



[24?! 



o 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

ENGLAND, JULY 1913 

To Rupert Brooke 

ENGLAND, England . . . that July 
How placidly the days went by I 



Two years ago (how long it seems) 
In that dear England of my dreams 
I loved and smoked and laughed amain 
And rode to Cambridge in the rain. 
A careless godlike life was there! 
To spin the roads with Shot over ^ 
To dream while punting on the Cam, 
To lie, and never give a damn 
For anything but comradeship 
And books to read and ale to sip. 
And shandygaff at every inn 
When The Gorilla rode to Lynn! 
O world of wheel and pipe and oar 
In those old days before the War. 

poignant echoes of that time! 

1 hear the Oxford towers chime, 
The throbbing of those mellow bells 
And all the sweet old English smells — 

[246] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

The Deben water, quick with salt, 

The Woodbridge brew-house and the malt; 

The Suffolk villages, serene 

With lads at cricket on the green. 

And Wytham strawberries, so ripe. 

And Murray's Mixture in my pipe I 

In those dear days, in those dear days. 
All pleasant lay the country ways; 
The echoes of our stalwart mirth 
Went echoing wide around the earth 
And in an endless bliss of sun 
We lay and watched the river run. 
And you by Cam and I by Isis 
Were happy with our own devices. 

Ah, can we ever know again 
Such friends as were those chosen men, 
Such men to drink, to bike, to smoke with, 
To worship with, or lie and joke with*? 
Never again, my lads, we'll see 
The life we led at twenty-three. 
Never again, perhaps, shall I 
Go flashing bravely down the High 
To see, in that transcendent hour. 
The sunset glow on Magdalen Tower. 

[247] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

Dear Rupert Brooke, your words recall 

Those endless afternoons, and all 

Your Cambridge — which I loved as one 

Who was her grandson, not her son. 

O ripples where the river slacks 

In greening eddies round the "backs"; 

Where men have dreamed such gallant things 

Under the old stone bridge at King's. 

Or leaned to feed the silver swans 

By the tennis meads at John's. 

O Granta's water, cold and fresh, 

Kissing the warm and eager flesh 

Under the willow's breathing stir — 

The bathing pool at Grantchester. . . . 

What words can tell, what words can praise 

The burly savor of those days I 



Dear singing lad, those days are dead 

And gone for aye your golden head; 

And many other well-loved men 

Will never dine in Hall again. 

I too have lived remembered hours 

In Cambridge; heard the summer showers 

Make music on old Heffers pane 

While I was reading Pepys or Taine. 

Through Trumpington and Grantchester 

[248] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

I used to roll on Shotover; 

At Hauxton Bridge my lamp would light 

And sleep in Royston for the night. 

Or to Five Miles fro?n Anywhere 

I used to scull; and sit and swear 

While wasps attacked my bread and jam 

Those summer evenings on the Cam. 

(O crispy English cottage-loaves 

Baked in ovens, not in stoves ! 

O white unsalted English butter 

O satisfaction none can utter I) . . . 

To think that while those joys I knew 
In Cambridge, I did not know you. 

July, 1915. 



[249] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



CASUALTY 



A WELL-SHARP' D pencil leads one on to 
write : 
When guns are cocked, the shot is guaranteed; 
The primed occasion puts the deed in sight : 
Who steals a book who knows not how to read*? 

Seeing a pulpit, who can silence keep? 
A maid, who would not dream her ta'en to wife? 
Men looking down from some sheer dizzy steep 
Have (quite impromptu) leapt, and ended life. 



[250] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



A GRUB STREET RECESSIONAL 

O NOBLE gracious English tongue 
Whose fibers we so sadly twist, 
For caitiff measures he has sung 
Have pardon on the journalist. 

For mumbled meter, leaden pun, 
For slipshod rhyme, and lazy word, 
Have pity on this graceless one — 
Thy mercy on Thy servant, Lord! 

The metaphors and tropes depart. 
Our little clippings fade and bleach: 
There is no virtue and no art 
Save in straightforward Saxon speech. 



Yet not in ignorance or spite, 
Nor with Thy noble past forgot 
We sinned: indeed we had to write 
To keep a hre beneath the pot. 

[251] 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 

Then grant that in the coming time, 
With inky hand and polished sleeve, 
In lucid prose or honest rhyme 
Some worthy task we may achieve — 

Some pinnacled and marbled phrase, 
Some lyric, breaking like the sea. 
That we may learn, not hoping praise, 
The gift of Thy simplicity. 



[252! 



CHIMNEYSMOKE 



PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS FOR A 

FUNERAL SERVICE: BEING A 

POEM IN FOUR STANZAS 

SAY this poor fool misfeatured all his days, 
And could not mend his ways; 
And say he trod 
Most heavily upon the corns of God. 

But also say that in his clabbered brain 

There was the essential pain — 

The idiot's vow 

To tell his troubled Truth, no matter how. 

Unhappy fool, you say, with pitiful air: 

Who was he, then, and where'? 

Ah, you divine 

He lives in your heart, as he lives in mine. 



[25:3] 






^v